Deja vu struck the Sequoyah volleyball team on Tuesday.
In a rematch of last season’s region semifinal loss to East Hamilton, the Lady Chiefs faced off against the Lady Hurricanes in this year’s Region 3-2A semifinal match at Loudon High School.
And the result was the same, right down to the score.
East Hamilton defeated Sequoyah 3-0, as it did last year, to once again eliminate the Lady Chiefs and ultimately end their season.
“We don’t have a feeder program at all with no middle school (program),” Sequoyah head coach Rebekah Monhollen said. “These girls right here (at East Hamilton) have been playing since fifth grade. Our girls don’t start playing volleyball until ninth grade.
“So I’m trying to really focus on building up skills early on with that younger group, middle school, JV program.”
East Hamilton found victory in the evening’s first set, downing the Lady Chiefs 25-15, then held Sequoyah to under 10 points in a 25-7 second set win.
The Lady Chiefs found momentum during the third set and kept the score relatively close during its initial stages, but East Hamilton finally pulled away for a 25-10 victory to eliminate Sequoyah from the postseason.
Sequoyah was fresh off of a 3-1 loss to Loudon in the District 5-AA Tournament championship.
“I am very proud of our girls this season,” Monhollen said. “We played very well so we finished 11-5 for the season, including post(season) play. I’m proud of the girls. They worked hard. They improved so much from the first time I saw them two years ago. So I’m very, very proud of them.”
Monhollen said her team doesn’t make much of a consecutive loss to the same program in the region semifinal.
“Not really something we think about because we just want to improve our season,” Monhollen said, “And so I’m looking at how our girls have improved from one season to the next and from one game to the next. Obviously, there’s the rivalry, but they’re such a good team. We just play ourselves.”
The Lady Chiefs will have to replace a standout senior class featuring Madison Miner, Allianna Shofner, Emma Garrett, Ally Staff, Chloe Mason and Grace Wiggins.
However, they will return some players with valuable experience, including contributors Abbey Borden and Brooklyn James.
“You can’t replace anybody because you always have a new team,” Monhollen said. “Every year is a new team. Even if you have the same players, it’s still a new team. But they were the core of our team. We had six seniors. They were strong. They were on the court. They were hard workers. It’s going to be hard to replace them, but every year is a new team no matter what.
“Offseason, we’re really going to work on just getting just that movement, comfort with the ball, comfort with the play, so it’s not brand new to them anymore.”
All-District players named
Several Sequoyah players were included in recently-released District 5-AA awards.
Wiggins, Miner and James were named to the All-District First Team, while Shofner and Amberlyn Gibby made the Second Team.