Led by junior Anna Whited’s 19 kills, the Lady Spartans recorded a total of 48 kills on the way to a 25-9, 25-19, 25-14 win over Honaker in the Region 1D volleyball tournament quarterfinals at Eastside High School.
“I’ve been really pleased with how this group has really stayed focused,” Eastside coach Brianne Bailey said of the Lady Spartans’ week of practice. “We’ve had three or four days of straight practice, which sometimes kids can get bored with and slack up. But they’ve practiced really good, so I’m pretty pleased with them.”
With the win, Eastside (20-4) will meet defending VHSL Class 1 state champion Patrick Henry in the Region 1D semifinals in a 7:30 p.m. contest Tuesday. The other semifinal will feature Thomas Walker taking on Holston at Eastside at 6.
Thomas Walker advanced Thursday with a 20-25, 25-18, 24-26, 25-21, 15-13 quarterfinal win over Grundy, while Holston beat Rye Cove 25-15, 25-18, 25-18 to earn a trip to the Region 1D final four.
PLAYING THROUGH THE PAIN
Whited’s strong play came despite an injured toe.
“It’s doing fine, I guess. It still hurts,” Whited said.
With the injury, Whited was limited to playing on the front row. She came up big, just shy of 20 kills in the win and helped the Lady Spartans control the momentum.
“We wanted to come in and win and get to our next goal of beating Patrick Henry,” said Whited. “Our goal in front of us right now is to beat Patrick Henry.”
In addition to Whited’s strong game at the net, Eastside got 12 kills, five aces and a block from Kaylee Yates and eight kills, eight digs and three aces from Laura Lanteri.
Tinley Hamilton finished with 33 assists for the Lady Spartans, while Kacie Jones added 13 digs and Alyssia Sensabaugh had 11.
Honaker’s attack was led by Hannah Hess and Abigail Lester with five kills each, while Autumn Miller had 12 assists.
“That was by far the best team we’ve seen this season,” Honaker coach Jared Miller said. “Just during warmups, I could tell my kids got a little scared when (Whited) started hitting. I could see it in their faces. They got a little scared of her.
“She hits it hard. I was impressed. She’s probably the meanest player we’ve come across this season.”
Eastside wasted no time in setting the pace by jumping out to a 7-1 lead in the first set.
The Lady Spartans trailed only once in the game, when Honaker took a 3-2 lead in the second set.
The second set was tied 10-10 before Eastside used an 8-2 scoring run to pull ahead 18-12 and hang on for the second set win.
Eastside held a narrow lead throughout the early stages of the third set before opening up with an 11-1 run to build a 21-9 advantage.
The Lady Spartans cruised to the win and the sweep from there.