Grainger Today Correspondent
MORRISTOWN – The number two seeded Rutledge Middle School Lady Pioneer volleyball team saw its first action in the Middle-8 volleyball tournament last Thursday night when they took on the seventh seeded Lincoln Lady Patriots. In the match played at West View Middle School, Raelin Madon registered 11 serving points, with Alyson Noe earning 10 and Audrey Stratton adding eight to spark the Lady Pioneers to a straight-set 25-8, 25-8 victory to move into the semifinals.
In the semifinals, the Lady Pioneers took on the third seed Jefferson Middle School Lady Elks, and Rutledge scored a second straight set win by the scores of 25-20 and 25-15. Abby Crowe led the Lady Pioneers with eight-serving points and Audrey Stratton led with seven kills.
In the championship game, the Lady Pioneers met the East Ridge Lady Bears. “It just wasn’t our game,” said coach Beau Rich. “We could never really get on any runs, and we just didn’t play our normal game.” The Lady Bears, the only team to beat the Lady Pioneers this season, registered a straight set 25-15, 25-18 win to take the championship. “Despite the disappointment of losing in the finals, it was still a great season,” said Rich. “I know we don’t play for second place, but there’s no shame in finishing second.”
Lady Pioneers Abby Crowe and Audrey Stratton were both named to the All-Conference team. With the loss, the Lady Pioneers finished with a season record of 15-3.
White Pine at Rutledge
In their final regular season match played Monday, October 2, the 11 eighth grade members of the Rutledge Middle School volleyball team were honored before the varsity volleyball match against the visiting White Pine Lady Cyclones.
In the first game of the varsity contest, the Lady Pioneers got eight serving points from Audrey Stratton and two from Raelin Madon to jump to an early 10-2 lead. However, the Lady Cyclones outscored Grainger by 11 points to take the first game, 25-22. The second game was tied at 9-all before the Lady Pioneers finally hit their stride with three serving points from Abby Crowe, two from Madon and two from Sydnie Hayes. With the Lady Pioneers leading 19-16, Gracie Jarnagin served six consecutive points for the Lady Pioneers, who took the second game, 25-16. In the tiebreaker, Crowe served eight straight points as Rutledge took the tie breaker and the match with a 15-9 victory. In the match, Crowe had 14 total serving points, nine aces and four assists, while Audrey Stratton had 10 kills, eight serving points and two aces. In addition, Gracie Jarnagin recorded nine serving points and eight kills, while Sydnie Hayes recorded 12 assists. With the victory, the Lady Pioneers finished the conference regular season with a 12-2 record and second place in the conference. Their overall record was 13-2.
In the junior varsity match, the Lady Pioneers and Lady Cyclones battled on even terms for half the first game before White Pine scored a 25-19 victory. In the second game, Abby Reagan recorded six-consecutive serving points, and Rutledge continued to add points until the score reached 24-12. At that point, White Pine recorded six-straight points before the Lady Pioneers closed out the game with a point and a 25-18 win. In the tie breaker, the teams battled on near even terms early in the game as Reagan had three important serving points early. With the score standing at 7-5 in favor of Rutledge, Marly Tanner racked up six-straight serving points to power the Lady Pioneers to a 15-6 score to take the match. Abby Reagan and Marlie Tanner led Rutledge with nine serving points and three aces each, while Makyla Scott recorded five serving points, three aces and three kills. Zoe Livesay also had five serving points and added three kills.
Jefferson Middle at Rutledge
The Lady Pioneer volleyball teams took on the Jefferson Middle Lady Elks in a conference volleyball match held in the Rutledge gym Thursday, September 28 . In an incredible serving game, Audrey Stratton had 17 serving points, which included 11 aces, to pace the Lady Pioneers to a 25-19 and 25-16 straight-set victory. In addition, Rutledge got five kills from Gracie Johnson and five assists from Sydnie Hayes. Tthe victory improved the Lady Pioneer record to 11-2 and clinched the second seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
In the junior varsity match, the Lady Pioneers took the first game of the match and then found themselves trailing the Lady Elks 23-16. Zoe Livesay served nine consecutive points to pull Rutledge to a 25-23 victory in the second set and take the match. For the entire match, Livesay had 13 serving points, five aces and four kills. The victory left the Lady Pioneer junior varsity squad in a three way tie for the second seed in the very balanced Middle-8 Conference tournament. (Photos from this game are in the Gallery below).
Rutledge Middle at East Ridge
The Rutledge Middle School volleyball teams traveled to East Ridge Monday, September 25 to take on the conference-leading Lady Bears with a share of the regular season title on the line. “It was unlike any game I’ve ever coached in my nine years of coaching volleyball,” said Lady Pioneer coach Beau Rich. “I’ve coached matches where there would be one marathon set but last night, every set in the contest went extra.” In the match, the Lady Pioneers won the first game 28-26 before the Lady Bears responded with a 29-27 victory in the final set. In the final tie-breaking set, East Ridge prevailed with an 18-16 win to take the match. Audrey Stratton played a terrific game with 10 kills, nine serving points and four digs. Abby Crowe had 10 assists and five serving points with Gracie Jarnagin added six kills. Sydnie Hayes led in assists with 12. In discussing the pressure packed match, Coach Rich stated, “I’m not sure either team ever had more than a three or four point lead, and it seemed like both teams were constantly fending off defeat with clutch serves and points. I hate that we lost, but I’m very proud of how hard we fought in an extremely well played and stressful match.”
Although the the junior varsity match also went to three sets, the Lady Pioneers came out victorious. After losing the first set 23-25, Rutledge took the next two sets 25-18 and 15 -8 to take the match. Abby Reagan, Brooklyn Copley, Marly Tanner and Katy Roach all had seven serving points, while Zoe Livesay and Makayla Scott each had six kills. Lydia Foster led the team in assists with eight.