By TREY WILLIAMS
After winning its first regular season conference title in 25 years, Daniel Boone’s volleyball team has quickly refocused on trying to win its second consecutive league tournament.
Boone was scheduled to open play on Tuesday against Tennessee High, which defeated David Crockett in the first round on Monday. The tournament is at Tennessee High.
“It’s a great feeling,” Trailblazers senior Dannah Persinger said, “but we hope to accomplish more than just the conference championship.”
Persinger and setter McKenna Dietz have led the way while Boone attempts to advance to the state tournament for the second straight season.
“Winning a regular season championship is pretty great,” Dietz said. “It was one of our goals this season but we aren’t done yet. … Our end goal every season is to be better than last season. We want to get back to the state tournament and advance higher in the tournament.”
The ‘Blazers might have blinked after clinching the league title two weeks ago. They dropped a pair of matches to Science Hill and Sullivan Central last week.
“The tough matches have shown us what we can improve on in the upcoming games,” Persinger said.
The Science Hill setback was an epic five-set battle. Sullivan Central, led by St. Francis commitment Elaina Vaughn, dealt Boone its first sweep of the season.
“These tough matches will help us through the postseason because everyone brings their A-game,” Dietz said.
Persinger and Dietz play together as if they can read one another’s mind.
“I’ve played with Mckenna for the past four years and it’s always fun on and off the court,” Persinger said. “We know how to push each other and I think that’s what’s made our connection good.”
Dietz and Persinger each noted the roles Allie Davis and Riley Brandon have played during their first season with significant playing time at Boone.
“Riley Brandon and Allie Davis have played a huge role in this year’s team,” Persinger said. “I think with their experience of going to state last year, it showed them what it takes to get there and they’ve really improved in this past season.”
Boone coach Chelsea Baker often notes the contributions of Persinger and Dietz, but says this season’s success was a team effort.
Baker’s anxious to see how Boone might follow last year’s postseason run. Boone won its first district tournament title since 1995 last year.
“We are excited about the postseason tournament,” Baker said. “Every team has gotten better throughout season. The girls are excited and we hope to carry momentum from regular season play into the postseason. These girls have worked hard even when we couldn’t do things together (due to COVID-19).”
The losers’ bracket final and championship are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday at Viking Hall. An if-necessary match would be played at 2 p.m. on Friday.