After the football team upended Richlands to start the season and played Abingdon even for all but 19 seconds last Friday, the Lady Blue Devils’ volleyball program captured a big home win on Tuesday.
The Lady Devils bounced back from a first-set loss to take a 12-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-21 win over defending district co-champion and Region 2D champion Union (7-3, 0-1).
After a sluggish opening set, the Lady Blue Devils (2-2, 1-0) attacked the net the rest of the way and kept Union’s defense off balance thanks to several hitters putting the ball down.
Kinslee Hammonds finished with 11 kills and three blocks. Bel Sallee had nine kills and two blocks, and Ashley Stanley finished with nine kills, 11 assists and five digs for Gate City.
The Lady Devils also got 22 assists and seven digs from Kaley Jenkins and 31 digs from Lexie Summers.
Gate City coach Amy Reed was pleased with the win and her team’s balance, but she saw plenty of room for improvement.
“We’ve got to put the ball down. We’ve got to nail it. They gave us plenty of opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of,” Reed said. “That’s something that we’ve got to still work on, but continuity is starting to pick up and flow. And once we get comfortable with that, we’re going to get stronger, faster, and we’re going to be able to take better care of our opportunities to score.
“We did a really good job with composure tonight. I’m very pleased with that. That’s just part of growing up and that’s what we want to see.”
Union coach Kim Moore felt her team relaxed too much after winning the first game — a crucial mistake against any team, particularly Gate City.
“I think we relaxed and we shot ourselves in the foot,” Moore said. “Gate City’s got a good team. You can’t come into Gate City’s gym and take them lightly or come into Gate City’s gym and not fight for every single point.
“I didn’t see a lot fight in my girls tonight. It’s the fight that I’m used to seeing. So back to the drawing board, I guess. We’ve got work to do. Back to the drawing board.”
Emili Brooks led Union with 22 kills, 18 digs and three blocks, and Jayda Smith had 12 kills and 15 digs.
The Lady Bears also got 22 assists from Brook Bailey, 15 assists from Desi Brooks, 23 digs from Isabella Blagg and 11 digs from Krista Meredith.
Both teams stay inside the Mountain 7 for their next matches, both crucial. On Thursday, Gate City is at home against John Battle and Union entertains Abingdon.
The Lady Blue Devils will be competing in the Rocky Top Classic in Gatlinburg this weekend.