Central Volleyball Returns

August 24, 2020


Luke Keown

CENTRAL VOLLEYBALL RETURNS — The volleyball team huddles before their game against Bradley Central.

The Central volleyball team is looking forward to a successful season. With senior leadership, a strong underclass presence and fourth year head coach Holly Ware; a postseason berth is well within reach.

The Lady Pounders took the floor Tuesday, August 18, at Central. It marked the first sporting event since the COVID-19 outbreak put a halt to athletics in March. The Lady Pounders faced off against the tough Class 3A opponent, the Bradley Central Bearettes.

“I am excited about this year,” Senior Carmen Crabtree shared. “We have really improved on our skills and attitude from last season.”

The Lady Pounders started off the game with high intensity, but they fell into a early deficit due to unfortunate communication mishaps. The team seemed to get into a rhythm as the game progressed. However, the Bearettes proved to be too much for the Lady Pounders. Although this was a tough loss, the team showed good effort and the desire to improve as a team.

“We could have communicated…and hustled more,” Senior Kamren Hammonds said. “We worked really hard the next day at practice to fix the problems.”

Thursday, August 20, the Lady Pounders traveled to East Ridge High School where they faced off against their district rival, the Lady Pioneers. The Lady Pounders made quick work of East Ridge. They won 3 consecutive sets: 25-14, 25-15, and 25-10. This big district win was a huge turnaround from the tough Tuesday loss.

“We played really well by communicating a lot more and playing the game we know how to play,” Hammonds added.

The Lady Pounders look to carry the high energy into next week where they face a 3 game slate. On Monday, August 24, the Lady Pounders have a home game against CSAS at 6 p.m. The team will face the home-school based team, the Chattanooga Patriots, on Tuesday, August 25. On Thursday, August 27, the Lady Pounders will travel to East Hamilton High to face the Lady Hurricanes.

Readers can view the latest sports updates on the sports center page. This is where schedules, scores, and rosters will be posted

A Tough Week for the Lady Pounders

A TOUGH WEEK FOR THE LADY POUNDERS -- Senior Addy Wellington in action during the game against CSAS

Luke Keown

A TOUGH WEEK FOR THE LADY POUNDERS — Senior Addy Wellington in action during the game against CSAS

The Lady Pounders kicked off their second week of regular season play on Monday, August 24. They played on their home court against the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.

The Lady Pounders looked to keep up the high energy from their last game, a huge district win against East Ridge, but the girls fell short. They were defeated 25-17 in the first set in spite of great plays from both Junior Alona Allen and Senior TaNiya Crowder. The next set was plagued by mishits and communication problems; the score of the second set was 25-18, ultimately resulting in a 0-2 loss for the Lady Pounders.

The next day, Central went on the road to Hamilton Heights, home of the Chattanooga Lady Patriots. They suffered a nail biting loss that stretched into 3 sets. The Lady Pounders were bested in the first set by a score of 19-25. In the next set, Central came back and put up 25 to the Lady Patriot’s 20, which forced the game into an extra set. The Lady Pounders fought hard but were defeated 11-15.

On Thursday, they traveled to East Hamilton Middle High School to battle the tough district opponent, the Lady Hurricanes. Central was defeated in the first two sets, but that did not stop them from battling back to win the 3rd. The marathon game lasted almost two hours, but in the end, the Lady Pounders were defeated 3 sets to 1.

Even though Central did not add to the win column during these past three games, the Lady Pounders are still positive and ready for the next matches.

“We have responded well and improved from these last few games,” Alona Allen shares. “We just keep going up.”

Sophomore Hannah O’Kelley is confident the team can recover as well.

“We’ve definitely had our moments… but we really pushed through.” added O’ Kelley.

On Monday, August 31, the Lady Pounders will play at home against the Red Bank Lady Lions. They will then travel on to Lookout Valley to battle it out with the Yellow-jackets. To finish up the week, Central will have an away game versus their district rival, the Hixson Lady Wildcats.

Readers can view the latest sports updates on the sports center page. This is where schedules, scores, and rosters will be posted.

The Lady Pounders Come Out on Top Against Lookout Valley


Luke Keown

THE LADY POUNDERS VOLLEYBALL TEAM COMES OUT ON TOP AGAINST LOOKOUT VALLEY — Coach Ware discussing strategy with team during timeout.

The determined Lady Pounders team faced off against Red Bank, Lookout Valley, and Hixson in their third week of regular season play.

Central kicked off the week at home on Monday, August 31, against the Red Bank Lady Lions. The ladies competed hard throughout the first set, but they were overcome by a score of 25-19. The Lady Pounders played a solid second set. The score was back and forth the entire time. In the end, the Lady Lions prevailed 25-23.

Although the Lady Pounders lost, they played a game that kept spectators on the edge of their seats the entire time. Their improvements promise a great rest of the season.

“We have really improved on our passing and communication,” Senior Carmen Crabtree shared. “The entire team has worked hard in practice and it is showing in our games.”

On Tuesday, the Lady Pounders traveled to Lookout Valley High to duel with the Yellowjackets. Central got off to a great start and made easy work of Lookout Valley. The first set ended with the Lady Pounders on top, 25-19. The Lady Pounders kept their foot on the gas and dominated the second set with a 25-6 win.

“We played together like a team. Everyone contributed to make the win happen.” shared Coach Holly Ware.

Thursday, the Lady Pounders went on the road again to play Region Three District Six rival, the Hixson Lady Wildcats. The Lady Pounders gave it their all, but were no match for the Lady Wildcats. They lost all three sets.

Looking ahead, the Lady Pounders will play five out of their next six games on the road. The ladies will kick off the road trip on Tuesday, September 8, where they will battle district opponent, the Howard School. On Thursday, September 10, the Lady Pounders will cap off the shorter two-game week against the Bradley Central Bearettes.

Readers can view the latest sports updates on the sports center page. This is where schedules, scores, and rosters will be posted.

Central Volleyball Victorious Over District Opponent- The Howard School


Luke Keown

CENTRAL VOLLEYBALL VICTORIOUS OVER DISTRICT OPPONENT THE HOWARD SCHOOL — Senior Kamren Hammonds spiking in the match against Red Bank.

The Lady Pounders are approaching the half-way point of the season. They were looking to add to the win column during this two-game week. Central looked to score another district victory in their game with the Howard School and to avenge their earlier season loss against Bradley Central.

On Tuesday night, September 8, Central traveled to the Howard School. The game started off well for the ladies; the first set concluded quickly with Central on top by a score of 25-8. In the second set, the ladies slipped up due to serving trouble, but they still produced another set win, 26-24. Being a district game, the ladies entered a third set and were simply unstoppable. The ladies put the metaphorical nail in the coffin, capping off the game by scoring 25 to the Howard School’s 8.

When asked about the win and what it meant for the team, Senior Kamren Hammonds revealed, “The [Howard] game was really important…we played strong together and won all three sets.”

Thursday, September 10, the Lady Pounders looked to build onto their momentum as they went on the road to square off with the Bradley Central Bearettes. The Lady Pounders started the game well, but the Bearettes proved to be too strong; the first set ended in a win for the Bearettes, 25-8. The second set did not prove to be much better, earning Bradley Central a victory with a score of 25-9.

Even though the Bradley Central game ended in defeat, Coach Holly Ware is maintaining a positive outlook on the remaining schedule.

“The potential of the team is great, we just have to learn how to tap into that potential and keep moving ahead as a team,” explained Ware. “This team has great talent; we just need to focus on the small factors that lead to greatness.”

On Monday, September 14, the ladies will rematch the Lady Lions at Red Bank High School. The following day, the Lady Pounders will face the East Ridge Lady Pioneers. To finish off the week, the Lady Pounders will play the tough East Hamilton Lady Canes. Central hopes to hone in their skills in preparation for their last weeks of regular season competition.

Readers can view the latest sports updates on the sports center page. This is where schedules, scores, and rosters will be posted.

Central Volleyball is Triumphant Over East Ridge

CENTRAL VOLLEYBALL IS TRIUMPHANT OVER EAST RIDGE -- Senior Addy Wellington at the net during the Lady Pounders game against East Ridge.

Luke Keown

CENTRAL VOLLEYBALL IS TRIUMPHANT OVER EAST RIDGE — Senior Addy Wellington at the net during the Lady Pounders’ game against East Ridge.

In past years, the Central volleyball team has struggled in the second half of the season. The 2020 Lady Pounders were looking to change that in this week’s games against Red Bank, East Ridge, and East Hamilton.

On Monday, Central began their fifth week of competition on the road against the Red Bank Lady Lions. The first set was back and forth, but in the end, the Lady Lions captured the set victory, 26-24. The second set was a nail-biter, but once again, Red Bank prevailed, 25-23. The Lady Pounders were on the losing side of some tough calls, which only added fuel to the fire in the fierce battle between the Lady Lions and the Lady Pounders.

“I felt like we played with so much more energy and enthusiasm,” Junior Alona Allen shared. “Even though we lost, I believe it’s the best game we’ve played all season.”

After five straight away games, the Lady Pounders were back at home on Tuesday, September 15, to face off against the struggling East Ridge Lady Pioneers. The Lady Pounders were dominant. At the end of the first set, the score was 25-5. The Lady Pounders controlled the second set as well, which resulted in another 25-5 Central victory. As the game progressed, the East Ridge Lady Pioneers struggled to return the Central serve which lead to several aces for Seniors Kamren Hammonds and  Carmen Crabtree. In the third set, the Lady Pounders put the finishing touches on their sweep of the Lady Pioneers, winning the final set by a score of 25-17.

When asked about the big win against East Ridge, Coach Holly Ware said, “It was a much needed win. The team played well together and had fun while still staying focused.  It is always a good night when you win, especially when it was a district match.”

Thursday, September 17, the Lady Pounders hosted the East Hamilton Lady Hurricanes. The Central squad knew this would be a big game, being that the Lady ‘Canes finished third in the state last year, but many of the Lady Hurricanes’ star players graduated at the end of last year. The Lady Pounders looked to take advantage of that in their second meeting of the season with the Lady ‘Canes. Central got off to a hot start but fell short. The Lady Hurricanes won the first set, 25-20. The Lady Pounders battled hard to try and tie up the match, but they could not stop the Lady Hurricanes. East Hamilton took the second set, scoring 25 to Central’s 20. After the second set, East Hamilton got on a roll and simply could not be stopped; they completed the sweep of the Lady Pounders in the third set, winning 25-17.

Monday, September 21, the Lady Pounders will go on the road to play the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences. It will be the second game of the season between the Lady Pounders and the CSAS Patriots. On Tuesday, September 22, the McMinn Central Chargerettes will travel from Englewood, Tennessee to battle the Lady Pounders at home.

Readers can view the latest sports updates on the sports center page. This is where schedules, scores, and rosters will be posted.

Lady Pounders Dominate McMinn Central Chargerettes


Luke Keown


With only five regular season games remaining, the Lady Pounders hoped to improve their district standing throughout this week’s games. The ladies faced off against the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Patriots, McMinn Central Chargerettes, and Hixson Wildcats.

On Monday, September 21, Central looked to get even with the CSAS Patriots, who defeated them earlier in the season. The CSAS team has three eighth graders and three upperclassmen, but that has not stopped them from finding a way to win. The first set was back and forth, but near the end, CSAS rallied and came out with the set win, 25-18. In the second set, the Lady Pounders fought hard, but once again, the Patriots rallied- which produced another set win, 25-17.

The following night, the Lady Pounders hosted fellow Region three opponent, the McMinn Central Chargerettes.  Central quickly found their groove and shut down the Chargerettes’ attacks, defeating McMinn Central 25-14 in the first set. In the next set, the Lady Pounders executed well, resulting in a 25-10 win. Throughout the set, the trio of Seniors, TaNiya Crowder, Kamren Hammonds, and Carmen Crabtree, could not be stopped. Setter Carmen Crabtree’s consistency paved the way for both Crowder and Hammonds to blister the defense with powerful spikes. Up 2-0 in the match, Central continued their domination of the Chargerettes. Central completed the sweep of McMinn Central in the final set, with a score of 25 to the Chargerettes’ 19.

Tuesday’s match was a showcase of how the team has improved in playing cohesively. The Lady Pounders obtained the lead and maintained it the entire night.

“The team is learning how to make the hustle plays each game,” shared Coach Holly Ware. “They have learned how to play better as a team and how not to allow one mistake to effect the rest of the game.”

On Thursday, September 24, Central squared off with their district rival, the Hixson Lady Wildcats. Hixson quickly got off to a 3-1 lead, but a block by Junior Alona Allen helped the Lady Pounders get on track. The first set was back and forth the entire time.  The set was tied at 17 when TaNiya Crowder made an excellent serve, which gave Central a one point advantage. Great hustle from Junior Addy Wellington and solid team communication put the pressure on the Lady Wildcats. Hixson gained momentum, but Central battled back to knot up the game at 22. Hixson took back control of the game and won the first set 25-23. In the second set, Hixson got off to another hot start. After being tied 4-4, both teams rallied and were tied at 19. Hixson held on to the lead and won the second set by a score of 26-24. Hixson added on to their momentum from the first two sets and defeated the Lady Pounders in the last set, 25-20.

When asked about the game against Hixson, Carmen Crabtree said, “Even though we lost, I think the game helped us a lot. It showed us what we need to work on and I know the entire team will work hard to finish out the season strong.”

The Lady Pounders (5-11) will close out the 2020 season with two home games. On Monday, September 28, the Lady Pounders will battle the Lookout Valley Yellowjackets. Tuesday, September 29, will be the Lady Pounders’ Senior Night, where Central will play against the Chattanooga Patriots, who defeated them earlier in the season. The ladies will take the remainder of the week to prepare for their upcoming playoff games. Come out and support the purple and gold this week.

Readers can view the latest sports updates on the sports center page. This is where schedules, scores, and rosters are posted.

The Lady Pounders Sweep Lookout Valley


Luke Keown

LADY POUNDERS SWEEP LOOKOUT VALLEY — Junior Alona Allen punishes the Patriots’ defense with a powerful spike.

This week, the Lady Pounders completed their 2020 season. Central hosted the Lookout Valley Yellowjackets on Monday, September 28, and the Chattanooga Patriots on Tuesday, September 29.

On Monday night, the Lady Pounders re-matched Lookout Valley. In the first set, the purple and gold established their lead and snuffed out the Yellowjackets’ attacks. After great offensive and defensive plays, the Lady Pounders came out with the first set victory, 25-18. In the next set, the Lady Pounders were called for multiple violations, but they still managed to maintain control of the lead. As the second set winded down, the Yellowjackets made things interesting with a late rally. When the dust settled, the Lady Pounders had tacked on another set win, completing the sweep of Lookout Valley.

Before Tuesday night’s game, Central recognized their three senior players with their Senior Night ceremony. Seniors TaNiya Crowder, Kamren Hammonds and Carmen Crabtree were joined mid-court by their parents as they were congratulated by their fans, family, and coaches.

Senior Night: (Left to Right) TaNiya Crowder, Kamren Hammonds, Carmen Crabtree

When asked about their Central volleyball experience and their final home game, Seniors Carmen Crabtree and Kamren Hammonds both agreed it was bittersweet. Both were thankful for the opportunity but sad to see it come to a close.

“I have played volleyball at Central all four years of high school,” Crabtree revealed. “I’m sad high school volleyball is over, but I’m thankful for my teammates and especially Coach Ware… they have all made this one of the best times of my life.”

“It has been a fun three years and I am glad I met every single one of those three years because we have had such great teams. I will miss playing for Central so much, it is one of the best experiences thanks to Coach Ware,” Hammonds also explained.

The senior festivities came to a close and the Lady Pounders prepared to play the home-school team, the Chattanooga Patriots. As the game got started, every fan, player, and coach in attendance knew it would be an intense game. Controversial calls on top of an already tense match up lead to tempers flaring on both sides of the court.

The Lady Pounders got the early jump on the rival Patriots. The ladies went on to win the first set by a score of 25-18. The second set was chocked full of violations, causing Central to fall out of sync; the Patriots came out on top, 25-14. With the series knotted up, Central looked to get back on track, but they fell short once again. The Lady Pounders lost the third set, 25-15. In the fourth set, nothing seemed to go the Lady Pounders’ way. The Patriots looked unstoppable; they went up 14-0 over the Pounders. Coach Ware took a timeout which seemed to give the Lady Pounders a new breath of life. Even facing a 14 point deficit, the Lady Pounders battled back. The Lady Pounders played better throughout the remainder of the set but could not catch up. The Patriots tallied a few more points and beat the Lady Pounders, 25-20. The match ended with a Patriot victory, three sets to one.

The Lady Pounders ended their 2020 campaign with a record of 6-12. Looking past the girl’s final record, the Central squad has heart and a never-give-up mentality. They hope their exponential improvement and signature mentality can carry them through the playoffs.

On Monday, October 5, the Lady Pounders will enter the postseason tournament, played at East Hamilton Middle/ High School. They will to play their nemesis, the Hixson Lady Wildcats, for the third time this season. The winner will live to see another playoff game and the loser will go home.

Readers can view the latest sports updates on the sports center page. This is where schedules, scores, and rosters will be posted.

Hixson Defeats Central in the 2020 District Tournament


Luke Keown

CENTRAL’S PLAYOFF RUN STOPPED BY HIXSON — Coach Ware talks to the team during a timeout.

The Central Lady Pounders wrapped up regular season play on Tuesday, September 29. The ladies finished with six wins and twelve losses, earning them the third spot in the district standings.

This season, East Hamilton finished atop the regular season rankings, followed by Hixson, Central, East Ridge and Howard. Regular season standings determine playoff seeds and match-ups in the district tournament. Seeds one, two, and three have a first round bye, meaning they do not play, while the fourth and fifth seed will compete in a play-in game. The play-in game winner will advance to the quarterfinal match to play the number one seed. Meanwhile, the second and third seed will lock horns in the second quarterfinal match. The winners of the quarterfinal matches will then advance to the championship, where the district champion will be crowned.

In the first game of the 2020 District Tournament, fourth seed East Ridge came out on top against fifth seed Howard. The Lady Pounder’s game followed.

East Hamilton School served as the backdrop for the battle between number three seed Central and number two seed Hixson. Previous match-ups between the district rivals have been packed with ire and intensity; this playoff match was no exception.

“We played Hixson twice during the regular season and I feel like this was a good match up for us in the playoffs,” Senior Carmen Crabtree explained. “We improved a lot over the course of the season and the entire team was excited for the District Tournament.”

The match started with Hixson getting off to a 5-0 lead, forcing Central’s Coach Ware to call a timeout. After the timeout, the Lady Pounders appeared rejuvenated and quickly got the serve back. Excellent serves from Senior Kamren Hammonds carried the Pounders on a five point rally, tying the game at five. Due to violations and mis-hits, neither side could get anything going, only scoring one or two points at a time. When the match was tied at 12, the Lady Pounders went on an impressive seven point run. Aces from three different players contributed to that rally, which resulted in the Pounders leading Hixson by a score of 20-13. The Lady Pounders were firing on all cylinders until they were called for a costly net violation. The Lady Wildcats took advantage of the slip-up by Central and went on an impressive run of their own, scoring 14 consecutive points. The first set concluded with Hixson on top, 26-24.

Aiming to get back on track after blowing a huge lead in the previous set, Central struck first. They quickly took a 4-0 lead but were called for a violation, putting an end to their hot start. This gave Hixson the spark that they needed. The Lady Wildcats went on to score 12 unanswered points. Down 12-4, Central gained traction and scored four points, but their rally came to an end after they booted a serve. This once again gave Hixson the jolt that they needed. The Lady Wildcats dominated the purple and gold, tallying seven additional points. The Lady Pounders relinquished the serve after a Hixson mis-hit; they scored two more points before Hixson reached 25, ending the second set. The final score was 25-10.

“I feel like we started off strong but we just started to slowly lose energy as a team,” said Senior Kamren Hammonds.

Central entered the third set desperately hoping to avoid the sweep. For the second set in a row, the Lady Pounders got off to a 4-0 lead before a passing blunder ended their run. Hixson regained confidence and scored four consecutive points. The Lady Pounders’ playoff hopes seemed to be slipping away before Senior TaNiya Crowder blocked a Hixson spike. The powerful block got the serve back for Central, and it reignited the fire throughout the entire Central squad. The two teams went back and forth until Hixson went on a five point tear, making the score 13-8. Soon after, the Lady Pounders closed the gap, manufacturing three points. Hixson was leading Central, 18-15, when Addy Wellington, Kamren Hammonds, and Carmen Crabtree combined to make several great defensive plays. Every player and spectator in attendance could feel the momentum shift Central’s way. Strong serves from Alona Allen and Carmen Crabtree lead the Lady Pounders on a six point rally, making the score 18-19. The Lady Pounders run came to an end with an extremely controversial call where the up referee overruled the linesman, enraging Pounders fans and coaches. Hixson took advantage of the call going their way and quickly finished off the third set, 25-20, ending Central’s 2020 campaign.

2020 Class AA Region 3 District 6 Volleyball Tournament Bracket

The 2020-21 volleyball season is in the books, but in August of next year, readers can begin to look for the 2021-22 season’s coverage. Next year, the team will look forward to more great performances from their star player, Addy Wellington. Central will also look forward to upcoming Seniors Mykiah Tate, Sabrina Campbell, and Carmen Breitenbach to contribute heavily to the team’s success.

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