By Ken Lay
Traditional rivals Farragut and Bearden collided on the volleyball court Thursday night with first place in District 4-AAA hanging in the balance. And when the dust had settled, it was the Lady Admirals who left on top in the league standings.
Farragut won its 14th consecutive match with a 25-22, 25-21, 25-9 victory over the Lady Bulldogs.
Bearden, which was without injured setter Kristin Dowling, opened a 16-14 lead in the opening set before the Lady Admirals (27-4 overall, 6-0 in the district) rallied to go up 17-16 and never trailed again. The set was knotted at 20 before Farragut scored five of the next seven points to claim the set.
“That first game was tough but I’m really happy with this match,” Lady Admirals’ coach Susan Davidson said. “We came in here and took care of business.
“Bearden is a great team.”
After the inaugural set, Farragut was pretty much in control the rest of the way. The Lady Admirals opened a 20-9 lead in the second set before the Lady Bulldogs (12-4, 5-1) stormed back to pull within 23-21 before Farragut took a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
The Lady Admirals then cruised in the third game at Bearden, thanks in part to an 11-point service run by libero Mikaela Brock. Brock took the ball with the visitors leading 14-8 and promptly brought things to an end.
Bearden coach Zach Forgani said the second set was the difference on this night.
“We used up a lot of energy digging ourselves out of that hole,” he said. “We didn’t have our setter but I’m not going to use that as an excuse. Farragut is a great team and they have a lot of good servers.
The Lady Bulldogs moved Claire Duncan to the setter position and she responded by dishing out 18 assists and scoring eight service points but it wasn’t quite enough as Bearden had its six-match winning streak snapped.
“We just have to step up,” Duncan said. “I don’t think we ran out of gas, I think once we were down, we just all fell apart.”
Farragut junior Alexis Parker finished the match with 14 kills and 12 digs and was pleased to leave Bearden with sole possession of first place.
“We knew coming in that this was going to be a good game,” Parker said. “Bearden is a great team and it makes us better to play them.”
If past history is any indication, the Lady Bulldogs and Lady Admirals will meet again. The two teams have played for the district tournament championship and the Region 2-AAA Title in each of the last three seasons and Davidson said her team better be ready in possible rematches.
“We’ll probably see them again and they always improve,” she said. “We always see a better Bearden team later in the season.”