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Lady Wildcat's Finish 5th in Showdown at the Sunsphere Tournament

The Oak Ridge High School Lady Wildcat Volleyball Team finished their busy opening week with a 5-1 record at the Showdown at the Sunsphere tournament in Knoxville. “I couldn’t be prouder of what this team accomplished this weekend,” said Oak Ridge Head Coach Dave Kolodney. “They played a lot of volleyball at an incredibly high level from beginning to end.” The Showdown at the Sunsphere brought 52 of the top High School teams from throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Carolina to Knoxville to compete in the two-day tournament. “Even after dropping a set in the opening match, they never lost focus or drive and came back to win a decisive 15-8 3rd set,” continued Kolodney, referring to the first match of Pool Play against William Blount. “I hope their play proved a lot to them, because it certainly did to me.”

The Lady ‘Cats dropped only 2 more sets throughout the tournament, and those came at the hands of eventual tournament champion and preseason #37 Team in the Nation, Sacred Heart (Louisville, KY) in the Gold Bracket Quarterfinals. The Lady Wildcat’s 5-1 record earned them a 4-way tie for 5th place in the tournament. In the winning sets, Oak Ridge margin of victory averaged over 8 points each set. “That’s not possible against this level of competition without great play in all phases of the game and that’s what I saw from them over the past two days,” Kolodney stated. “We had great play from the starters and from the bench – It’s great to know that I have that kind of depth and flexibility from my players.” Oak Ridge and Knoxville Catholic tied for the highest finish by Knoxville area teams in the tournament.

The Lady ‘Cats were consistently paced by Setter Paige Halcrow who was one of only two players to play every point of every match. “She’s a vocal and emotional leader,” Kolodney said referring to his Junior Co-Captain. “She’s also outstanding when it comes to the stat line: 2nd in Ace percent, 2nd most serves, 2nd in kills and kill percentage, 2nd in blocks, and led the team with Digs. She does it all at an extremely high level.” Kolodney named Halcrow the Player of the Tournament for her outstanding performance and leadership.

The Lady Wildcats return home on Tuesday and Thursday for District matches against Campbell County and Halls. Oak Ridge is 7-1 for the season, 2-0 in District play.

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