Lady Rebels celebrate Senior Night with sweep of Karns

By Ken Lay

Senior Night is always a cause for celebration. But it can also bring an extra element of stress.

West High School’s volleyball team, however, got everything it wanted as it honored its seniors Tuesday night.

“They wanted a big crowd. They got a big crowd. They wanted a big student section and they got a big student section,” Lady Rebels’ head coach Jessica Lee said.

West also picked up a key District 3-3A victory over Karns as it swept the Lady Beavers 25-18, 25-18, 25-22.

“The last three, four or five years, we’ve lost a set or two on Senior Night,” Lee said. “It’s hard but I told them that they needed to enjoy this.”

Before the victory, West honored seniors Ella Reyes, Rylie Valdez, Ryn Gaertner, Kara Brantley, Annabel Slate and Ella Levring.

“This is a special group of kids. I’ve had three play on the varsity since they were freshmen and two since they were sophomores,” Lee said. “They’re special. They really are.

“They’ve just always been here and now, I’m going to have to take a look at what we’ve got coming up.”

The West High Volleyball Class of 2022 won a district tournament championship, made three Region 2-3A Tournament appearances and reached the sectional round of the state playoffs once.

They’re writing the final chapters of their story in the program, which likely includes one more deep postseason run.

Against the Lady Beavers Tuesday night, Gaertner had 11 kills, three aces, three digs and one block. Valdez added eight kills, five digs, four aces and one block. Norah McLoughlin finished with six kills and Reyes dished out 25 assists.

The Lady Rebels followed Tuesday’s victory with a loss to Bearden Wednesday. They bounced back to defeat Halls Thursday in a district match.

West (23-5 overall, 11-1 in the district) has two district matches remaining. The Lady Rebels travel to Campbell County today (Sept. 26). They’ll play a pair of non-league tilts Tuesday as they travel to Anderson County to play the host Lady Mavericks and Jefferson County.

West will close out district play at Clinton Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The winner of that match will claim the second seed in the upcoming district tournament.