A big game-one rally set the tone for a Tates Creek sweep over No. 6 Paul Laurence Dunbar on Tuesday night at Barger Gymnasium.
The Commodores, ranked 11th by the coaches, trailed 12-7 before a 10-0 run catapulted them into a 25-19 game-one victory. It won the next two sets 25-23 and 25-19 after again climbing out of early holes.
Junior Doris Carter paced the Commodores with a game-high 18 kills. Jordyn Chenault, a sophomore, added 10 for the winners.
"I think Dunbar played a good game tonight," Carter said. "But I think us as a team we have a lot of options and we're playing really well together."
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Carter, Chenault and junior Lindsey Wilkins held strong around the net against an intimidating Dunbar frontline which includes University of Kentucky commit Leah Edmond.
Carter, a North Carolina State commit, said the team had to have confidence going up against a player like Edmond, whom she called "a monster" around the net.
That confidence showed in a memorable game-three volley that put Tates Creek up 13-11. The Commodores had three straight digs out of strong kill attempts by Edmond. When the ball returned to Dunbar, they attacked from the opposite side and the ball went into the net.
"We did a lot in practice to prepare for (Edmond)," Tates Creek Coach Sara Chaffin said. "The girls put it into play. I couldn't be more proud of them because everything we said we wanted to do, we came out and did."
Edmond had nine kills to lead the Bulldogs (10-5).
The Commodores (13-4) were ranked third in the city coming into the season. Its only in-state loss was 3-2 at No. 9 Louisville Christian.
Chaffin said her team enjoys the "underdog" role. The win put the Commodores in the driver's seat for the No. 1 seed in the five-team 43rd District. They swept Lexington Catholic 3-0 on Tuesday and face Lafayette (1-2 in district play) and Lexington Christian (1-1 in district) in the coming weeks.
Tates Creek earned its first sweep over Paul Dunbar since Sept. 17, 2013. That was the Commodores' most recent home game against the Bulldogs. The student section, which dubs itself the "Maroon Platoon," was eager to welcome Dunbar back.
"They're cheering us on and having just as much fun as we are on the court," Carter said of the fans. "It brings a whole new energy to our team that we wouldn't have without them."
The Commodores will hold a "Fan Appreciation Night" in its matchup against No. 5 Henry Clay on Tuesday.