By Thomas Sellers Jr.
More than halfway through the volleyball season, the Millington Lady Trojans are sitting near the top of the District 14-3A standing.
The success of the 2012 Lady Trojans is spreading around the county, even to Germantown. After a thrilling five-set win over league foe
Cordova, Millington traveled to play Barbara Whitaker’s Lady Red Devils last Thursday.
Germantown was able to earn a three-set victory over the Lady Trojans in “The Hanger,” leaving an impression on the veteran coach. Whitaker said the Millington senior class featuring Elizabeth Woodard, Jaymie Chism and Tierra Ford are reasons for the Lady Trojan turnaround.
“They have improved,” she said after beating Millington 25-19, 25-16 and 25-15. “Like so many, you lose so many kids and you have to build back up. That is what Millington will face after this year.
“They’re going to lose a lot of people this year,” Whitaker added. “It’s going to be up to the underclassmen to take over. They’ve worked hard to get up to this point. But you’re going to have to rebuild after this year.”
That’s a reality the Millngton seniors are already dealing with. While making noise in league play starting 3-1, the Lady Trojan upperclassmen are still taking time out to shape the younger players for the future.
“We have about nine seniors,” Chism noted. “We’re all going to be leaving. Our legacy is going to be with the underclassmen. They’re going to have to step it up and become a team better than we were so they can do their own legacy.”
Part of the Class of 2013’s legacy was a district tournament win last season over Bolton.
This year under returning coach Lisa Drumm, Millington picked up league wins over the Lady Wildcats, Craigmont and the Cordova Lady Wolves. Millington traveled to Cordova Sept. 18 and fell behind two sets.
“We’ve always been the underdog to them,” Chism said. “But we knew we were evenly matched. We knew we could be beat them. And coming back from being down 2-0, to win the third, fourth and fifth set, it was an amazing feeling.
“We knew we could do it,” she added. “We knew all we had to do was come together as a team. In the first two sets, there were some points we were a team. But then we weren’t in the rest. Then we finally came together as a team and played with our hearts.”
Millington seniors like Catherine Johnson said the Cordova win illustrated the determination of the entire Lady Trojan Volleyball program. And she added the underclassmen have been a part of that culture change from day one.
“I’ve seen nothing but improvement from our underclassmen,” she said. “They’ve gone to every conditioning and every open gym. They’ve all just bought in. The commitment is there.”
Lady Trojan underclassman Lindsey Harris said the example set by the seniors is rubbing off. She said it takes work year around to get better and make the program competitive.
“We are ready to commit,” she said. “We play as a team. If we keep working together and going farther and putting more effort into it, we can keep it going.
“We work together and we all become one,” Harris continued. “And that makes us work harder.”
Chism said the 2012 year will be the start of Millington Volleyball becoming a respectable program for years to come.
“We’ve always been below football, basketball and soccer,” she acknowledged. “We don’t have that much recognition. But since we’re winning and especially in district, we’re getting noticed more now than ever.”