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Munford seizes control early against Brighton

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Volleyball Leavell tip

Lady Cardinal senior Charlie Hansen strikes an overhead volley as Munford players including Lily Turner and Cecily Gable wait for the ball to come over the net.

Lady Cardinal senior Charlie Hansen strikes an overhead volley as Munford players including Lily Turner and Cecily Gable wait for the ball to come over the net.

Entering Thursday night, Munford Lady Cougars Head Coach Nina Makris was a little concerned about her team’s spunk.
After a lackluster performance against the Dyersburg Lady Trojans, Munford had to prepare for a district tilt. And the leader of the Lady Cougars quickly remembered the opponent coming to the Munford Gymnasium would give her team a natural boost — the Brighton Lady Cardinals.
“We had to get our focus back and regroup,” Makris acknowledged. “Tonight, we played really well. Lily is still getting well. And Cecily is getting back to herself. Overall our attitude and energy was a lot better. And it helped that we had a good crowd cheering for us, getting our energy up.”
The Lady Cougars improved to 2-0 in District 13-3A with a 25-15, 25-11 and 25-20 win over the Lady Cardinals. Munford picked up its first league win against Dyer County earlier in the season.
And the match against Brighton started well for the Lady Cougars when junior Precious Mills slapped a spike to end the first set at 25-15.
The Lady Cougars were ahead 6-3 in the second set when junior Lily Turner took over the game with four straigh points. With a quick set from senior setter Jodie Duncan, Turner slammed down a spike to make the score 7-3.
Moments later the Lady Cardinals were on attack with a spike attempt. Turner was there to block the spike to the floor scoring a point for Munford. Then Turner had back-to-back kills to make the score 11-3.
“It feels really good to beat our rivals,” Turner said. “Once you get on a roll, you’re hyped up and it’s kill, kill, kill.”
Turner made the second set 14-4 with an ace. Brighton trimmed the Munford double-digit advantage to single digits when Charlie Hansen served up a pair of aces to make the score 16-8.
But the Lady Cougars were able to pull away when Cecily Gable took over the set. The junior hitter slapped a spike that made the score 19-9. Munford outscored Brighton 6-2 down the stretch to take a 2-0 lead in sets.
The third set was the most competitive of the night. Brighton held the lead for most of the game leading 9-6 and 16-15 late in the frame. The score was tied at 19-19 before the Lady Cougars were able to pull away. Duncan and Gable closed out the night with the final two points.
Now the Lady Cougars have to wait on a visit from the Lady Tigers Sept. 17 to have a full review on the district. What was an unknown in August has shaped up in Munford’s favor in September. With the emergence of Turner as a go-to hitter, the Lady Cougars are in position to win over district title.
“Cecily can’t be the only one,” Turner said. “So I just try to help her. We can be a dynamic duo. I want to go to college and play. So it helps to get my name out there too.”
Along with senior Laura Leavell and junior Taylor Hobson and Maddison Welch, the Lady Cougars are poised for another run at a league championship and a possible seventh straight trip to Sub-State.
“Looking at our district, we still have to play Hardin County,” Makris noted. “We play them in a double header. We’re looking pretty good in our district. Arlington, we’ve scrimmaged them and played them well. We play them Monday (Sept. 10), that’s a Region game. We play Bartlett Sept. 15. Those are our two top Region teams.
“We played Collierville at the Collierville Tournament,” she added. “They’re pretty good. We haven’t seen Houston. But I know that Houston is extremely good because they were ranked first coming out of bracket play. Regionwise, we’re looking pretty good. Districtwise we look pretty strong as long as we remain healthy and keep our energy and spirits up. We can do all right.”

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September 2013
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