The Brentwood Lady Bruins volleyball team (14-3, 2-0) stood strong to remain undefeated in district play with a win against the Ravenwood Lady Raptors(10-7,0-2) in four sets on the road Thursday night (25-20,16-25, 25-22, 25-23).
“It feels awesome because it is my first time leading the team in the Battle of the Woods,” said Brentwood head coach Cathy Cram. “Having Coach [Barbara] Campbell in the audience was inspirational and helped me do what I am supposed to do. I wanted to make sure that we won this game for her.”
“It feels amazing to show ourselves what we can do,” said Brentwood junior Dylan Sulcer. “Coach Campbell being here was the cherry on top. This was an important match for us.”
“We were right there in every set and I feel like we were coming back in the last one; we just did not have enough to hold on,” said Ravenwood senior Reghan Grimes. “We know we have so much fight and potential.”
“I think we just did not come out and play our game,” said Ravenwood senior Tanya Sichling. “Nerves got the best of us, so we just have to learn how to start on our side.”
In the first set, Brentwood secured the early momentum with kills, aces and blocks by Oldham, Sulcer, junior Ashley Miller and senior Hollye Tate to grab the frame, 25-20.
The Lady Raptors answered right back with a 25-16 second set win, thanks to timely kills and aces by senior Ellie Kimpel, Grimes, senior Kennedy Riggs, Sichling, junior Bella Lepore and senior Kaleigh Barrett.
“I think the chemistry was a little bit better with our team,” said Sichling. “We were able to run some plays and get in their head.”
“In the second set, we were able to limit unforced errors,” said Grimes. “We did not start in a hole like we did in the other sets.”
Brentwood was able to regain their balanced attack on offense and defense with big plays made by sophomore Ashley Hurt, Oldham, Sulcer, Tate and sophomore Cece Meyer to grab the third set, 25-22.
Ravenwood delivered a fight to Brentwood in the fourth set as both sides matched each other point for point. The Lady Bruins gained late separation with kills by Oldham and Tate to take the frame 25-23 and the match 3-1.
“They (Ravenwood) get fired up when they play us,” said Brentwood senior Zoe Oldham. “We get really fired up when we play them. Both teams play well because of the rivalry.”
“Both of us always have good teams,” said Coach Cram. “We have good competition. It is always nice to see them on the other side of the court.”
“It is one of the best rivalries I have ever been a part of,” said Grimes. “Just the atmosphere of all the Battle of the Woods games is always so great. It is such a fun environment to play in. It just means more playing these games.”
Ravenwood’s leaders in kills were Sichling with 17 and Grimes with 10.
The Lady Bruins kill leaders were Oldham with 14 and Miller with 13.
“We just found a way through their block,” said Oldham. “We really tried to keep going even if we were down.”
“Ashley (Miller) and Zoe (Oldham) are great,” said Sulcer. “They have this power in them and drive to want to win. I can trust them to put the ball down and go after it. I think they are great players and did their job tonight.”
Ravenwood will take on Centennial on the road next Wednesday followed by Franklin at home on Thursday.
“We need to come back this week and crush it,” said Grimes. “We want to leave no doubt that we are one of the top teams in this district.”
“We are going to have to play faster pace than them (Centennial and Franklin),” said Sichling. “Just staying really composed on our side is a big deal.”
Brentwood will face a tough challenge at home as they welcome Nolensville next Tuesday.
“We want to continue working hard and being aggressive all the time,” said Coach Cram. “We need to work on our serve receive, so we can run more offense.”