Lady Trojans volleyball team splits two matches

By: Matt Long
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Oak Ridge High’s varsity girls’ volleyball team rebounded from a disappointing loss to Ponderosa with a clean sweep of Pleasant Grove on Thursday. The Lady Trojans, 2-1 in the Delta River League and 11-7 overall, showed what they’re made of, putting the loss to the archrival Bruins behind them and playing a solid match from start to finish against the Eagles. Oak Ridge won the match in three straight games, 25-16, 25-16 and 25-16. Katie Vaughn led the team with 12 kills, while Tara McDermott had 25 assists. Maddie Chambliss made 12 digs, while Vaughn added 11. “The best thing about this match was our consistency and that’s a word I haven’t used much this season,” Oak Ridge coach Becky Potter said. “The girls played with a purpose and weren’t just going through the motions. They went out there and took care of business and played with a lot of determination.” Potter said that Alexa Becker stood out as a player who led the team defensively. Oak Ridge suffered a tough four-game loss to Ponderosa on Oct. 5, 25-23, 25-22, 15-25, and 26-24. The fourth and deciding game was a heartbreaker for Oak Ridge. The Lady Trojans seemed to be on their way to forcing a fifth game leading 19-11 when Ponderosa got rolling on an eight-point stretch that tied things up at 19. Back and forth went the points until it was even again at 24. Needing the next two points, Ponderosa gained momentum on the next rally after Lianna Sybledon took a pass from Madison Macauley and ferociously spiked it down to the Oak Ridge floor. The final rally of the match ended when Ponderosa deflected an Oak Ridge attack that was headed for the Ponderosa bench before the Lady Bruins were able to save it over the net just out of reach of a diving Haley Simmons. “It was really tough and surprising to see that last point fall the way that it did,” said Simmons, who stepped up big defensively in the last two games. “We needed to keep the momentum on our side. We let them get a run which ended our chances for a win.” The first two games also went down to the wire with Oak Ridge losing both. The Lady Trojans took the third game with outstanding all-around play from Vaughn and junior middle blocker Arden Zuber. “It’s frustrating, but that’s just how volleyball goes sometimes,” said Potter, whose squad was unable to exact revenge from an earlier tournament loss to Ponderosa this season. The Lady Trojans were 10-2 in the previous six seasons against Ponderosa. “It’s a fun, healthy rivalry with Ponderosa. We all play with each other in club and in the offseason so it’s tough to lose to them, but at the same time, we can be happy for them,” said Potter. Nick Pecoraro contributed to this article.