REEDY VOLLEYBALL TATUM FOUCHE

Lebanon Trail led the 9-5A volleyball race from the start of the season, but it did not end the way the Trail Blazers would have hoped.

After winning 15 straight matches to open the 9-5A campaign, Lebanon Trail dropped its third in a row on Tuesday with a 25-18, 24-26, 26-24, 16-25, 15-12 setback to Memorial.

Though they had already secured a share of the district title, the loss by the Trail Blazers (15-3) opens the door for Reedy to earn a share of the championship.

Reedy improved to 13-3 with a 25-5, 25-22, 25-18 sweep of Frisco Centennial.

The Lions have had an interesting season. Hit with the loss of players early on due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reedy lost a handful of matches playing without its varsity roster.

When the district executive committee ruled that the Lions could replay those matches, they have taken full advantage and with wins over Memorial and Lone Star in its final two matches, it can pull even atop the standings.

Both Lebanon Trail and Reedy should be equipped to be formidable when the playoffs begin later this week.

The Trail Blazers have a star in USC-signee Tyrah Ariail, who ranks among the state leaders in averaging 5.2 kills per game.

Ariail is not alone, as Peyton Thompson is recording 3.0 kills per game and Lauren Sullivan is tallying 2.4 kills per set.

Ariail is also a defensive force at the net with 72 blocks, while M’Kayla Johnson has added 51 blocks.

Davidson-signee Xuan Nguyen does a good job running the offense with 5.9 assists per set, and Marissa McLaughlin (5.2 apg) and Kat Smith (4.3 apg) have also proven capable when called upon.

The Lebanon Trail defense has also been steady in the back with seven players averaging better than two digs per game in Lexi Abbey (4.4 dpg), Ariail (3.9 dpg), Symone Sims (3.9 dpg), Angela Henson (3.3 dpg), McLaughlin (2.5 dpg), Nguyen (2.3 dpg) and Smith (2.2 dpg).

Reedy has built its resume more by committee, as nine players are averaging at least one kill per game, led by Addison Corley (2.8 kpg), Mak Hill (2.7 kpg), Camryn Hll (2.5 kpg) and Halle Schroeder (2.2 kpg).

Kelsey Perry and Reese Miller are formidable at the net, with 53 and 32 blocks, respectively.

Jordan Chapman is dishing out 4.6 assists per set and Gracie Cagle is averaging 4.5 assists per game and the defense is also solid across the board, led by Hill (5.7 dpg), Tatum Fouche (4.9 dpg) and Chapman (4.8 dpg).

Liberty has secured the third seed, as it moved to 12-5 with a 17-25, 25-15 25-19, 25-20 win over Lone Star.

Memorial’s win over Lebanon Trail gave its playoff hopes a huge boost as it improved to 10-6, but there is still work to do.

The Warriors have two matches left, but both are against playoff teams with Reedy on Thursday and Liberty on Saturday.

They will clinch with one win in their final two matches, but Wakeland is still looming at 9-8, despite a 7-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 16-14 loss to Independence in its last outing.

If Memorial should fall twice and the Wolverines defeat Frisco on Saturday, they would pull into a tie for fourth place, and with Wakeland sweeping the head-to-head series, they would win the tiebreaker and the playoff berth.  

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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