The #17 Oak Ridge High School Lady Wildcat Volleyball Team played host to District rival West High School Tuesday night at the Wildcat Arena. It was expected to be a tight match between the two teams that shared the 2018 regular season District title, and the fans were not disappointed. Much like the first meeting earlier this season, the Lady ‘Cats ultimately prevailed but it took Oak Ridge four sets to defeat the Lady Rebels (25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 25-22). “This was exactly the match we were expecting and I’m proud of the way we played to rise to the challenge,” said Oak Ridge Head Coach Dave Kolodney. “When you’ve got the top two teams in the district squaring off, it’s going to be a tough one.” The Lady Rebels’ only District losses have come at the hands of Oak Ridge. “We knew they were coming with revenge in mind after we won at their place, and I think we prepared well for this one,” continued Kolodney. “Our serve-receive has been off for a while now but we’ve worked on it in practice and it showed in those last two sets.” The Lady ‘Cats continued to look rusty receiving West’s aggressive serving in the first two sets, getting aced 25% of the time, but they found their groove in the final two sets with only 9% passing errors. Junior Libero Marybeth Luby received 13 error-free serves in those final two sets, which helped to get the Lady Wildcat attack back on track. Luby also had a team high 7 Aces and 18 Digs. Junior Middle Blocker Brenna Allred led the Wildcats with 3 Blocks and was one of four Wildcats with 10 or more Kills. Junior Outside Hitter Ainsley Patrick led the high-powered Oak Ridge attack with a career high 20 Kills. “She was a force in the front row with more than 1/3 of our total kills,” Kolodney said of his 6-foot Co-Captain. “Her passing was also a big part of the reason we improved as a team as well.” Patrick was named Player of the Match for the 2nd straight match by Kolodney. “Although I’d rather have won in 3 (sets), I’m glad to see that they were able to bounce back from a bad 2nd set loss to have their best game of the night in the 3rd,” finished Kolodney. “That’s the kind of mental toughness we need to make our run through October. Overall they played really well, but I’m definitely more impressed with their ability to be mentally strong when they needed it most.”
Oak Ridge improves to 14-2 on the season and remains undefeated in District 4-AAA play (8-0) with four District matches remaining. The Lady Wildcats will travel to Campbell County tomorrow evening for another District match and then will travel to Stone Memorial High School in Crossville on Saturday to play in the Queen of the Mountain Tournament.