Tournament crown builds momentum, renews confidence for Volley Dogs

Tyler Hotz, Staff Writer

In any memorable season, there are certain points that stand out and propel a team forward toward its aspirations.

Bearden’s volleyball team hopes that last weekend’s Volley Dog Challenge was that moment.

The Volley Dogs won the annual tournament, one that they host each year. This year, teams included South Doyle, Morristown East, and Oak Ridge, among other worthy competitors.

Bearden worked its way through the tournament and found itself paired against Oak Ridge in the finals. The Lady Bulldogs won both of the first two sets in the final to ultimately keep the title in West Knoxville.

After a tough loss to open up district play against rival Farragut, the tournament was a stretch of play to move them in the right direction.

“It definitely gives us more confidence, which we need after the beatdown from Farragut,” senior Alex Brandan said. “We will only be getting better.”

Bearden continued their positive momentum from Saturday and notched their first district win against William Blount on Tuesday. The Lady Bulldogs are looking to maintain that momentum in their busy week ahead; they will play almost every day, including district matches against Heritage and Lenoir City on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

As in any Bearden sport, games against Farragut just mean something more. An early season loss will definitely resonate and add fuel throughout the season.

“We split last year with Farragut and would like to see them down the road this season,” junior Mary Lehn said.

Bearden and Farragut could get another chance to square off in the postseason.

In addition, this year’s team has a new image. Even with the loss of great players including college-level athletes like Eleni Georgiafandis, who now plays at Louisville, there is no doubt in the player’s minds.

“We want to go to state,” Carrie McGinnis said. “We did it sophomore season, and we want to do it again.”

Players and coaches have high bars set for this season and have shown this through their T-shirt selection. Head coach Dave McGinnis is known for saying the quick phrase “something to prove” and players have taken that to heart, and also put it on the shirt.

“We want to prove everyone right and go to state,” Brandan said. “We lost a lot of players that backed out and left, and we’re proving to them and everyone else that we can do it.”