by STEVE WILMOTH
September 20, 2022
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — West Ridge unleashed a relentless offensive attack, howled atop Science Hill and came away with a stunning 25-22, 25-9, 25-23 win over Big 5-leading Lady Hilltoppers on Tuesday night.
The win was the first for the Lady Wolves (4-3, 13-7) over Science Hill (6-1, 21-8) after five losses last season and one earlier this year and also denied the Lady’ Toppers the Outright Conference crown.
“We talked about trying to even the score,” West Ridge coach Logan Kemp said. “We always want to capitalize on conference games. Being able to hit our goals and execute the game plan was tremendous.”
The Lady Wolves were only behind in the middle of the third set. The guests took a 7-1 lead in the first stanza and 5-1 in the second. After the three-point win in the opening frame, West Ridge laid down hammer after hammer in the second, continually peppering the lady-topper defense with rocket after rocket.
“We made great use of our chances, especially in the second set,” Kemp continued. “We got a lot of great opportunities and when you play against a great team like Science Hill you have to be able to take those chances.”
Parker Fischer’s Science Hill standout Autumn Holmes finished the first set and led 8-5 in the second set. After a Holmes kill, West Ridge started a ten-point run that included kills from Madison Haynie, Allie Reilly, and Casey Wampler.
Science Hill responded with three straight hits, but West Ridge attacked again, with Rylee Haynie grabbing three kills and a block down the middle as the Lady Wolves finished the set 7-1.
Science Hill quickly fell behind again in the third set but gathered enough energy to take their first lead at 7-6 and their biggest advantage of the evening at 8-6.
But after a long day of play at a tournament in Nashville on Saturday, the Lady ‘Toppers never found a consistent groove. After leveling the set at 14-14, 16-16, and 20-20, Science Hill gave away each of the following points on serve errors and did the same on a 24-23 match point.
“We’ve had a long weekend, but I’m not taking anything away from West Ridge,” said Science Hill coach Laura Cook. “They played great and we didn’t respond.”
The Lady’ Toppers finished the game with 20 offensive errors for a .066 hitting percentage and six service errors in total.
Holmes was limited to just a dozen kills on the night while the Lady’ Toppers finished with just 27 overall. Addi Stables and Meaghan Kanady each contributed five kills. No other Lady’ Topper produced more than one.
Kanady also dished out a dozen assists and Ella Neal dished out nine. Molly Williams collected 18 digs and Holmes and Marin Ross collected ten each.
“It felt like we made about 45 mistakes,” Cook added. “We never really got into a rhythm. It was like we could never get anything going.”
Rylee Haynie flashed ten kills for West Ridge, some of which came from Kari Wilson who brought in 15 digs.
“The offense starts with Kari,” Haynie noted. “And she (Haynie) ends it,” Wilson added.
Wampler also finished nine points with kills, while Madison Haynie and Allie Reilly drilled five finishers and Fischer three. Reilly and Fischer also scored a pair of blocks.
“Both of our underdogs did a really great job and both of our midfielders did a great job,” West Ridge’s Kemp said. “I’ve been proud of how Rylee has risen and gotten five kills for Allie, this is a sophomore coming in form.”
Faith Wilson gave out 28 assists and had ten digs with two aces on serve.
At the end of the evening there was no cry for the Lady ‘Toppers who can still win the conference title at Daniel Boone on Thursday. West Ridge will host Dobyns-Bennett, where a Lady Indians win could move the Lady Wolves to the number two seed in the upcoming District 1 AAA tournament.