Clarksville, TN – West Creek High School’s volleyball team battled its way into the championship game of the Gold Division, at the Coyotes Clash September 6th, but slow starts against Battle Ground Academy proved to be their undoing in falling to the Wildcats in straight games, 25-22 and 25-17.
The Lady Coyotes (19-3) had earned a spot the finals by defeating Hillwood High School and Jackson South Side High School in the single-elimination part of the Clash, after earning the second seed out of Pool A.
But the Lady Coyotes fell behind right out of the gates in Game 1 versus Battle Ground Academy (10-4), as the Wildcats scored eight of the first 11 points to hold an early 8-3 advantage.“We were happy that we made it to the finals today, but we would have been happier if we had won,” West Creek coach Josh Stoeckl said. “We weren’t guaranteed a spot in the tournament after losing our first game in pool play, but we came back and played hard to earn the sixth seed in the single-elimination tournament.
“So we probably had to exert a little bit more energy to get to the finals than we wanted too and then we just didn’t play well against a very good BGA team that has a high volleyball IQ.”
BGA — who defeated Clarksville High School and Northwest High School to reach the finals –would build its lead out to as many as nine points, 15-6, while still holding an eight-point lead as late as 20-12.
But the Lady Coyotes would put together their best run of the match by scoring seven straight points to cut the Wildcats lead down on a single point, 20-19.
Battle Ground Academy would get back-to-back blocks from Briana Watson and Morgan Willkomm to extend its lead back out to three points, but the Lady Coyotes responded with back-to-back kills from Shayla Smith and Azriya Smith to make it 22-21.
Shayla Smith would lead West Creek with six kills, three aces and a block.
The two teams would trade the next two points before BGA closed out the first game with a kill from Claire Scott and an ace from Bailey Reese for the 25-22 Game 1 final.
Scott would lead all players with eight kills in the match.
“BGA played a heck of a game and we didn’t play as well as we could,” Stoeckl said. “But I’m proud of the girls for fighting hard all day and in that aspect I’m happy.
“Once you dig yourself a hole and you have to constantly have to fight out of it, it makes it difficult and you really have to play almost flawless volleyball to make a comeback. BGA did a good job of putting us into uncomfortable positions that we’re normally not in.”
“We would have liked to have won today, but the big picture is we wanted to play good non-district opponents, while also showing teams that schools in Clarksville can play good volleyball,” Stoeckl said. “We had four local teams make the Gold Division bracket and a tournament like this only helps when we get to regionals and prepare for that next step.”