VC Sectional 3-peat

Vinton County claimed its third straight sectional championship with a straight-set victory over Athens on Wednesday.

McARTHUR — There was no five-set thriller like the past two sectional finals. There was no drama. 

It was strictly business for Vinton County. 

Facing off against Athens for the third time, the Vikings left no doubt as they eased past the Bulldogs 25-16, 25-12 and 25-17 to win their third straight sectional championship — fourth in school history. 

"We played with so much more intensity and focus compared to Monday against Warren," Vinton County coach Ashley Ervin said. "Every game we need to be at a level better than the game before instead of to our opponent's level. This game was much better overall.

"It's such a huge accomplishment, sort of program changing type of moment being that three of the four sectional titles have come back-to-back-to-back. All the credit needs to go to these girls. They have put the time in since they were in youth league, working multiple hours and dedicating their time and some even their lives to this sport to get where they want to be to get to this level. It's great to accomplish three TVC and sectional titles, but hopefully the best has yet to come." 

While the sectional title was the icing on the cake that additionally equaled to the Vikings tying the school record for wins in a season with 22, there was another reason for celebration. 

Cameron Zinn, who eclipsed her 2,500th career assist last week, added a pair of milestones to her already impressive resume as she notched her 1,000th career dig and her 300th career ace. 

"Getting my 1,000th and 2,000th assist was awesome, but getting 1,000 digs as well is pretty incredible," Zinn said. "I know that I couldn't have done any of this without my teammates and coaches pushing me everyday. To do it in a tournament game is pretty awesome, so I'm proud of the accomplishment and my team." 

Having already seen the Bulldogs twice this season, the Vikings knew exactly how to attack and directly went to win. 

With Taylor Houdasheldt at the serving line and Zinn playing hitter instead of setter, the Vikings pieced together a 5-0 run to take an 8-4 lead. 

Zinn continued to terrorize the Bulldogs with her athleticism and vision at the net, help the Vikings extend the lead later to 17-12 before kills from Zoey Kiefer, Sydney Smith, Lacy Ward and Jordyn Zinn closed out the set. 

"Playing Athens twice in a week had me a little concerned just from the standpoint of beating a team three times in a season," Cameron Zinn said. "But we knew what they were going to do and who they were going to set to, so it made things easier for our defense to adjust to." 

Cameron Zinn served up a pair of aces to open the second set, later followed by an ace from Houdasheldt and three kills from Smith to jump out 9-4. 

Though Athens later cut the lead down to 12-9, the Vikings ripped off the next four points after a kill from Cameron Zinn and an ace by Jordyn Zinn for a 16-9 advantage. Three more kills from Smith pushed the lead to double digits before finishing out. 

"Once our defense hears that call, they do a really great job of making the adjustments to everything as the game goes along," Smith said. 

Athens put some pressure on early and maintained a lead of 11-7. Then back-to-back kills from Cameron Zinn followed by a block from Kiefer and Zinn in addition to an ace from Jordyn Zinn spelled out a 6-0 run to take a 13-11 lead. 

It was all Vikings the rest of the way as they flexed their muscles and punched their ticket to district tournament action.

Cameron Zinn finished with 18 digs, 14 assists, 13 kills and five aces, followed by Smith with 13 kills and seven digs. 

Jordyn Zinn had 10 assists, Kerrigan Ward added 14 digs and Kiefer piled on six kills. 

Vinton County will host a Division II district semifinal on Tuesday and face off against Logan Elm, who defeated Fairfield Union is straight sets to advance. 

"We're not done yet. Winning TVC and sectional three straight years is great, but we want more," Smith said. "We're coming for that district championship." 

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