For the 10th year in a row, the 11th Region volleyball title match will be a battle between Lexington teams.
No. 5 Tates Creek and No. 7 Paul Laurence Dunbar swept through the semifinals Wednesday night, setting up a city showdown for the region championship Thursday night at Henry Clay.
This will be Dunbar's sixth championship appearance since 2007. The Bulldogs last won the region in 2009.
This will be Tates Creek's third time in the finals since 2005. The Commodores last won the region that year.
Tates Creek beat Scott County 25-13, 25-8, 25-16 Wednesday night for its 16th consecutive victory. Dunbar rolled over Woodford County 25-12, 25-9. 25-8.
Dunbar took care of business, racing to an 11-1 lead in the first set, 16-3 in the second, and 14-5 in the third.
"This is the fun part of the season in volleyball," Bulldogs Coach Jenni Morgan said. "Everybody wants to be in the championship match. I've told them to stay relaxed and enjoy it. It's been a fun ride."
Dunbar cruised in the semifinals. It got a boost from serves by eighth-grader Alexa Hendricks and senior Christina Bacon.
"They went back there and really served aggressively," Morgan said.
Bacon said Dunbar is looking forward to facing Tates Creek again, and avenging two five-set losses, including last week's district finals.
"We've studied their hits the whole week. We know we can beat them."
Bacon doesn't expect the Bulldogs to suffer from any title-match jitters.
"It's just so much fun," she said.
Tates Creek had to work to get by Scott County, but the Commodores ultimately had too much firepower.
"It was hard not to look ahead (to the finals), but we got the job done," sophomore Macy Reihing said.
What about facing Dunbar again?
"It's hard to beat a team three times, but if we keep the energy up and do what we know how to do, we're going to win," Reihing said.
Tates Creek Coach Sara Chaffin has heard enough of the old saw about beating a team three times.
"People have been saying that to me all week, but that's definitely not a mental block for us," she said. "I'm like, 'We're just ready to win.'"
After Tates Creek's semifinal victory, the players told Chaffin they'll be primed for the finals.
"The girls said they're going to be hyped," Chaffin said. "For them, that's a mixture of all the emotions of wanting to play their best."