Notre Dame High School team reaches final four as both Lady Irish squads conclude stellar seasons
By Dan McWilliams
The Knoxville Catholic High School Lady Irish volleyball team captured its second state championship and first since 2016 with a victory over three-time defending champion Briarcrest in the Division II-AA state finals Oct. 21 at Middle Tennessee Christian School in Murfreesboro.
Notre Dame High School’s volleyball team also made the state final four and finished third in the Division II-A bracket.
Briarcrest entered the finals with a 40-2 record and having already defeated KCHS in the winners’ bracket final. The Lady Irish, who finished 34-10, won in the losers’ bracket and came back to sweep Briarcrest 25-23, 25-23, 25-21 for the title.
Devyn Dunn of the Lady Irish recorded 34 assists, two kills, three service aces, and seven digs and was named tournament most valuable player. Bellamy Parker added 13 kills and nine digs for Knoxville Catholic, and Alyssa Adams made four assists and tallied 10 digs and two aces. Marina Azevedo swatted 10 kills. Blair Cherry racked up eight kills, three aces, and three digs for the Lady Irish. Grainne McGrath totaled eight kills.
Briarcrest topped KCHS in the winners’ bracket final in a match that went the full five games, 20-25, 25-16, 23-25, 25-19, 15-9. Knoxville Catholic began the tournament with a 25-23, 25-19, 25-15 sweep of Father Ryan. The Lady Irish would face Father Ryan in the losers’ bracket final and defeated the Nashville school again, 25-16, 15-25, 25-23, 25-18.
Notre Dame (29-7) began the state tournament with a 21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-23 win over Concord Christian. Eventual state champion BGA defeated the Lady Irish 24-26, 25-28, 25-17, 28-26 in the winners’ bracket final. Notre Dame fell into the losers’ bracket and this time lost to Concord Christian in a marathon 21-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9 match.