None of the players on this year’s Covington Lady Charger volleyball team were even alive when the program last advanced to the state tournament in 2001.

The squad has a golden opportunity to break that 19-year streak tonight when Lexington comes to town for a 7 p.m. sectional match.

“It’s huge,” said Covington volleyball coach Molly Griffin. “Just now I think everybody is realizing it’s right there. Before the season we didn’t even know how many games we were even going to get to play because of COVID. Right now it’s unreal because we didn’t even know if the season was going to make it to this point.”

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Covington (12-4) got to this point by beating Ripley Tuesday night at home (25-15, 25-16, 25-10) in the Region 8-AA title match.

Junior Anna Gover, the regular season and district tournament MVP, led the way with 10 assists and four kills. Emma Bowie and Kaleigh Easley, both junior, also had solid matches in the win.

It was the fourth straight time Covington beat Ripley this year, including a district tournament title win Oct. 8, which was also in straight sets.

This is the third straight season Covington has moved into the sectionals. The Lady Chargers lost in the sectionals to Crockett County last season.

Covington has not played Lexington this season, partly because COVID-19 concerns have forced most teams to play teams close to home.

Crockett County beat Lexington in the 7-AA title match earlier this week.

“I think we’re playing the right team to try and go to state, kind of the lesser of two evils,” Griffin said.

Covington has just one senior on its roster, so this is not a make-or-break season.

“It would be a great experience for our girls to get to go to state,” Griffin said. “It’s really hard to tell somebody what it’s like unless you’ve been there. It would be great to get there.”

The Class AA Volleyball State Tournament is Oct. 20-22 on the Middle Tennessee State campus in Murfreesboro.

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