MURFREESBORO — It’s the week before the postseason tournaments, but several volleyball teams haven’t been taking it easy.
They’ve competed in the Mid-Tenn Classic on Friday and Saturday, which featured several of the top teams in the state.
Father Ryan took advantage of the opportunity to compete in it. The Irish won the tournament last year, then used that win to propel themselves all the way to the state championship, where they lost to Baylor.
Forty-eight high school and junior varsity teams from around the state went to three different schools in Rutherford County to start the competition Friday.
The Irish didn’t repeat as champions this year, however. Father Ryan (34-7) won all its matches Friday and Saturday morning to make it to the final four, but lost to St. Agnes in the semifinals 25-23, 25-23. Goodpasture also won its matches on Friday and Saturday morning and was in the final four, but it lost to Briarcrest in the semifinals.
Father Ryan coach Jinx Cockerham said that it was a great experience to go up against teams that featured different styles of play.
“It helps us because we play a lot of teams we don’t usually play, and we play a lot of different styles,” Cockerham said. “It helps us to get ready for that, as long as we can get away without an injury.”
The Irish have seven seniors who have been a big part of the team’s success.
Father Ryan played back-to-back-to-back best-of-three volleyball matches Friday, then back-to-back-to-back matches Saturday morning. The Irish also had defeated Lipscomb Academy in a match Thursday night.
“We’re tired before, but once we warm up and once we’re on the court, we’re ready to play,” senior Lauren Dorrell said. “Our competitive nature just takes over, and we want to win.”
The seniors want to make the most of their last season.
“Our goal,” Olivia Rolick said, “is to make it back to the state finals, and have a different outcome this year.”