Kennedy Stewman

Smoky Mountain’s Kennedy Stewman passes the ball in last Thursday’s four-set loss at Hendersonville.

By Carey Phillips


Hendersonville topped Smoky Mountain 25-19, 25-23, 20-25, 27-25 in a Mountain Six Conference volleyball match Oct. 1 at Hendersonville.

“I felt like it came down to us keeping our energy, effort and attitudes positive and encouraging at different times throughout the match,” Coach Megan Dezarn said. “I don’t feel like it came down to our skill sets lacking. It came down to those three things in not being able to close out the match and push through.”

The Lady Mustangs appeared well on their way to forcing a fifth set. They led 7-2 in the fourth set after Carley Raleigh served six points, including an ace, and Faith Shuler, Charlee Haney and Melanie Hoyle all had kills. The margin reached 14-6 as Kennedy Stewman served five points, including an ace, and Shuler had two blocks. The Lady Bearcats narrowed the deficit to 19-17 with five straight points. They clinched the match after SM missed a chance while serving for the set.

Hendersonville led throughout the first set and opened a 23-15 advantage with a 5-0 run.

Five straight points put the Lady Bearcats in front 12-4 in the second set. The Lady Mustangs battled back and trailed 22-19 after Shuler served three points. They came as close as 24-23 on Ella Gamble’s three points, including an ace, and Natalie Parris’ kill before the Lady Bearcats won on a side out.

Hendersonville scored the first three points of the third set. SM kept the set close and pulled it out as Parris served the last five points, with Hoyle having a block and a kill.

Raleigh led in service points with 10. Not missing a serve were Caroline Cowan (14) and Shuler (nine). Stewman served 94.1 percent, and Gamble finished at 92.9. Team serving was 91.4 percent.

Hendersonville won the JV match 21-25, 26-24, 15-8.

“We had the lead in the second set (21-17),” Coach Melissa Hill said. “Competitively, we didn’t bring our best game. We’ve got to learn to never underestimate a team and always play to our level and not wait for our teammates to do things for us.”