Paul Laurence Dunbar senior volleyball player Claire Huskey began the night by belting out a strong rendition of the national anthem.
That set the tone for what was to come: Dunbar belting out a 25-17, 25-23, 25-18 victory over city rival Henry Clay in a showdown of top 10 teams Tuesday night.
It was sweet music to the Bulldogs and their fans, who still clearly remember losing to Henry Clay in the 11th Region finals last year.
Dunbar was sharp from the beginning, jumping to a 6-0 lead in the first game, and it maintained control most of the match in throttling the four-time defending region champs.
Dunbar junior middle hitter Leah Edmond, who has committed to play at Kentucky, said it was "really huge" to beat Henry Clay 3-0.
Senior setter Mary Martin agreed.
"It means everything in the world to sweep them because we never, ever do that," Martin said.
"I thought we could do it if we played to our full potential, like we did tonight. It's a matter of the mindset we come into the game with."
Dunbar Coach Jenni Morgan warned her sixth-ranked team in practice Monday to be ready for a marathon match against Henry Clay.
Instead, her players made quick work of the No. 7 Devils by clicking in all phases of the game.
"Our passing was great, with Fran (Macchiavello) and Alexa (Hendricks), Martin said. "Everyone did great on defense, our blocking was there, and our hitting looked great across the board. Especially Leah, as usual, of course."
Edmond, who had 17 kills, credited her primary setter, Martin, for her big night.
Olivia Canales, a senior who has committed to Texas Christian, was also steady at the net, along with Katie Shunk, Asia Henderson and Rachel Brown.
Morgan got just what she was looking for.
"In game like this, where a lot of the girls have a relationship outside the court playing club (volleyball), and just the history between our two teams, you hope your team plays well," Morgan said. "You hope they don't get rattled and they stay focused on what we're doing on our side of the court."
Dunbar showed that focus when it trailed Henry Clay 22-20 in the second game. Edmond and Canales led a late surge that secured the win.
Edmond said the Bulldogs had the "right mentailty. We were going to do our best and we weren't going to freak out when things went bad."
No. 6 Dunbar made sure not much bad happened by rolling to a 10-3 lead to take control in the third game.
Henry Clay never got in sync. Seniors Ca'Layci Coffey, who has committed to Lipscomb, and Lynsey Short, sophomores Hallie Shelton and Jessica Sunnenberg, and freshman Sierra Gray tried to couldn't steal the momentum.
Devils Coach Dale Grupe said his team "basically didn't play as relaxed as we do in practice or in a lot of our other matches.
"A lot of that had to do with Dunbar. They took it to us and put us on our heels a little bit.."
Henry Clay makes its annual trip to Effingham, Ill., for a tournament this weekend. Grupe isn't worried about any lingering effects from getting swept by Dunbar.
"I think we already forgot about it in the locker room," he said a few minutes after the match.