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Lady Wildcats hold off much-improved CHS squad

  • Oak Ridge’s Lily Yassu sets up before a Clinton serve Thursday night when the two schools met for a key Region 3-AAA volleyball match. - Ken Leinart

  • Lady Wildcat Nike Edmondson reacts to a play on the court during last Thursday night’s Oak Ridge vs. Clinton High School volleyball game. - Ken Leinart

Clinton High School volleyball Coach Lorri Johnson saw her team drop a tough match Thursday night.

But she wasn’t discouraged.

“We’re getting better and we were digging balls all over the place,” Johnson said after the Lady Dragons fell to Oak Ridge 25-15, 20-25, 26-24, 27-25 before a spirited crowd at Clinton High School’s Don Lockard Gymnasium. “Our kids were playing their hearts out.”

After the Lady Wildcats cruised in the opening set, Clinton found some momentum and had leads in each of the final three games.

Oak Ridge first-year Coach Audrey Sherles said she knew her team was in a tough battle against the young and up-and-coming Lady Dragons. The Lady Wildcats swept the season series against Clinton (21-11 overall, 9-3 in District 3-AAA).

“It was a tough game when we played them the first time and they were good,” Sherles said. “But they’ve gotten better.

“We knew this game was going to be hard, but we didn’t think it was going to be this tough. Clinton is a much more competitive team than they have been in the past.”

The Lady Dragons boasted a balanced attack Thursday night. Freshman Lanee Carmichael had 10 kills. Darbi Brummett and Ellie Murrell added eight kills each and Riley Owens finished with seven kills.

Brummett also came up with six aces, six blocks and four digs. Owens chipped in with nine digs.

Josie Moody, Clinton’s setter, dished out 27 assists and came up with 22 digs. McKenzie Crisp added 13 digs and Zavie Ford had six.

The Lady Wildcats and Lady Dragons each wrap up district play this week. Sherles said that she thinks her team has the top seed in the coming district tournament, which opens at Karns on Oct. 5.

Oak Ridge played the Lady Beavers Monday, but results were not available at press time. The Lady Wildcats conclude the district portion of their schedule today (Wednesday) against Campbell County.

Clinton had a road match at Halls Monday, and the Lady Dragons will host West tonight (Sept. 28). A victory over the Lady Rebels could net Clinton the No. 2 seed. West won the previous meeting between the two schools this season.