Hixson Defeats Central in the 2020 District Tournament
October 26, 2020
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.
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.