MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- In the four years since the creation of the Rutherford County Middle School Athletic Association, the Siegel Middle Lady Cavaliers have dominated the volleyball titles.
On Thursday, Siegel made it four-for-four in county titles with a 2-0 victory (25-19, 25-8) over Blackman Middle in the title game at La Vergne Middle School.
The Lady Cavaliers had to win back-to-back matches on the same night to clinch the title.
However, both the Siegel players and head coach Brandon Laduc agreed it did not let it affect their play on the court.
“We were fired up and ready to go,” eighth grade outside hitter Kristin Lee said following the match.
Laduc, who has been at the helm for all four titles added: “I saw the bracket early on, and it worked to our advantage.”
“We made early strides in the season to focus on conditioning and I do not let up on that,” Laduc said. “I felt like the longer they played the better off they were. As soon as the bracket came out, I turned that into a positive.”
The semifinals started with Blackman defeating Oakland Middle 2-0 (25-21, 25-13), so the Lady Flames had the advantage of resting and watching Siegel win the second semifinal 2-0 over Stewarts Creek (25-11, 25-17).
Early in the title match, Blackman jumped out to an early 4-2 advantage, but Siegel crawled back into the match to take control of it, especially after three consecutive aces by seventh-grade setter Carley Carnes to put the Lady Cavaliers ahead 9-5.
Blackman cut the advantage down to three on a couple of occasions, but Siegel pulled away to win the first set.
The second set belonged to Siegel, and its youngest member of the squad — sixth grader defensive specialist Zoe Delk.
During one stretch late in the match, Delk had six aces as Siegel went on a 13-1 run to end it and pick up the title.
“It was fun, but I was nervous at the same time,” Delk said.
The Lady Cavaliers finished the season with a perfect 13-0 record, and Laduc said he hopes to build on the winning tradition for the program as future stars will take the place of those moving up to the high-school level.
“It is good and it sets the tone for upcoming classes,” Laduc said. “It is a fortunate situation to be in. It will be good to hang up the numbers on the banner.”
As for the Lady Flames, they finished the season with only two losses on the season to the champions.
However, head coach Rod Edwards was still proud of how the team improved its performance during the season.
“They have come a long way, and they are a much better team than they were at the beginning of the year,” Edwards said. “They have grown up a lot and they played some exciting volleyball in the last couple of weeks.”