Clarksville, TN – West Creek High School’s volleyball team picked up its first District 10-AAA tournament title in the program’s history October 9th, but had to fight off a determined Clarksville High School squad in a five-game thriller by scores of 22-25, 25-23, 25-15, 23-25 and 15-12.
The Lady Coyotes (37-12) had rolled through the district during the regular season, going 14-0 and only being forced into a five-set match only twice in those matchups, but found themselves down 1-0 to the Lady Wildcats (16-6) and trailing 22-14 in the second game – with their tournament title chances slipping away.
“We’ve played Clarksville a lot this year,” West Creek coach Josh Stoeckl said. “Be it play days, scrimmages, team camp or during the regular season it’s always been back-and-fourth.
“So we knew coming into tonight it was going to be like that and you just had that feeling that it was going to be a five-set match.”
But it was at the point in the match were West Creek would start turning things around, as they put its best run of the game by scoring nine straight points to 23-22 lead.
“Sometimes you just can’t get things to go your way,” Clarksville High coach Johnna Connors said. “We were up, then for some reason we got down on ourselves and the run was more us than it was them.”
Clarksville High would finally end the run, tying the game at 23-23, but West Creek got a kill from Aliah Mcphaul and an ace from Azriya Smith to close out the game 25-23 and level the match 1-1.
Mcphaul and Smith would lead the Lady Coyotes with 14 kills each, while Shayla Smith added 12 kills.
“I called a timeout and just told them it was in their hands and it’s what you want to make of it,” Stoeckl said. “After that, they just came back out focused and did what they’ve been doing all season and got back into the match.”
The momentum of the second game carried over into Game 3, with West Creek never trailing in the game, while pulling away for a 21-10 advantage on their way to a 25-15 win and a 2-1 advantage in the match.
But Clarksville High – one of the two teams that took West Creek to five games during the regular season – wouldn’t go down without a fight.
The Lady Wildcats jumped out early in Game 4 and build a lead out to as much as five points at 14-9, but saw the Lady Coyotes take their first lead of the game with a 4-0 run highlighted by back-to-back aces from Chloe Clifton to take a 19-17 advantage.
Crutchfield finished with eight kills, while Sarah Lindsay topped the Lady Wildcats with 14 kills.
West Creek would get to within one point twice more in the game, but Clarksville High would be able to score the final point of the game to hold on for a 25-23 win and force a fifth and deciding game.
“I thought our girls left everything out on the court,” Connors said. “We’ve grown as a team this year and when we don’t play together and talk to each other, we play down, but when we have players step up we can play with anyone.”
The deciding game saw West Creek get out early, 7-3, behind a couple of kills from Shayla Ford; but answered with an 8-2 run to go up 11-9.
But after a West Creek timeout, the Lady Coyotes offense came back to life – scoring six of the final seven points, including the final four kills of the match for West Creek from Mcphaul for the 15-12 win to seal the victory.
Both teams will advance to the October 13th Region 5-AAA tournament, hosted by West Creek, with the Lady Coyotes playing the number-two team out of District 9-AAA at 4:40pm, while Clarksville High will play the number-one seed from 9-AAA at 6:00pm.
The championship game will follow at 7:30pm.
District 10-AAA All-Tournament Team
West Creek: Kayla Ford, Shayla Smith, Aliah Mcphaul
Clarksville High: Abby Anderson, Sarah Lindsay
Rossview: Jessica Mattson