There’s just something about Sequoyah and Loudon.
The two schools have a longstanding rivalry in multiple sports, and it has taken its latest form in volleyball, as both programs boast considerable recent success and have faced each other numerous times already this season.
“It’s just a good rivalry,” Sequoyah head coach Rebekah Monhollen said. “It’s been a rivalry for a while. It’s just continued and it’s just been a good overall rivalry for a couple years.”
In the rivalry’s latest matchup, the Lady Chiefs played the Lady Redskins for the District 5-AA tournament championship at McMinn Central on Tuesday. Sequoyah ultimately lost 3-1 to Loudon, finishing as district runners-up and still advancing to the Region 3 2-A tournament.
After a closely-contested beginning to the first set, the Lady Redskins took the set victory, winning 25-14 and going up 1-0.
The Lady Chiefs came back from a 16-9 deficit in the second set to cut the Lady Redskins’ lead to one point at 20-19, but Loudon eventually held on for its second set win, 25-22.
Sequoyah capitalized on its newfound momentum during the match’s third set, quickly taking an 8-3 advantage and holding the lead throughout, winning the set 25-16. It was the only set of the evening that the Lady Chiefs held the Lady Redskins to under 20 points.
But Loudon rallied strongly during the evening’s final set, using aggressive offense and stout defense to notch a 16-6 lead that finally turned into a 25-11 set win, ending the match, and the district tournament, at 3-1.
The loss saw the Lady Chiefs finish as District 5-AA runners-up. Sequoyah was slated to play at Loudon, the region tournament’s host, on Tuesday in a 6 p.m. first-round match against East Hamilton.
“Hopefully, it gets them motivated and they want to play,” Monhollen said. “Right now they’re disappointed because it was a loss, but hopefully, they will kind of come back and bounce back from it and get motivated to just play their best.”
Despite the district tournament defeat, Sequoyah’s region tournament berth is further evidence of the program’s solid standing. The Lady Chiefs advanced to region tournament play last season as well, falling in the semifinal match to East Hamilton.
The Lady Chiefs are buoyed by talented veteran players, including seniors Allianna Shofner, Ally Staff, Chloe Mason, Emma Garrett, Grace Wiggins and Madison Miner, some of which are multi-sport standouts at Sequoyah.
“I’ve had a good group of girls that want to learn and they want to work,” Monhollen said. “They’ve worked really hard. They take instruction really well and they just want to improve themselves and improve as a team, so that’s been really good.”