By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The disdain for the first day of the school week is well known.
From Facebook graphics to well know sayings, the pains of Mondays have been documents for several years. Even songs have been written about the dislike of the day.
So who can blame the Munford Lady Cougar Volleyball team for not being fans of Mondays. And with a Region 7-3A showdown looming Sept. 9 against the Arlington Lady Tigers, it still took the Lady Cougars a moment to reach their normal level of play.
After dropping the first set 26-28, Munford regrouped to win three of the next four sets to post a 26-28, 25-21, 21-25, 25-11 and 15-7 victory.
“Unfortunately, on Mondays we don’t get going,” Munford Head Coach Nina Makris said. “I don’t know what it is about Mondays, we just can’t seem to get going. Once we finally got going, we played like we were supposed to play.
“For whatever reason, we just couldn’t get going,” she continued. “But when we talked and we’re energetic, we played great. We do well and we’re a good team. When we don’t we’re sluggish and like a whole different team.”
The sluggish Lady Cougars were on the Munford Gymnasium court in the opening set. Despite a slow start Munford was ahead early in the first set 10-9. The set continued to go back and forth when Lady Cougars Lily Turner and Cecily Gable grabbed Munford a 15-13 lead with back-to-back spikes.
The Lady Cougars appeared ready to snatch the opening set ahead 19-16 when the Lady Tigers staged a comeback to take the lead at 22-20.
Arlington was first to reach 25 in the set but Munford head 24 points. The Lady Tigers were first to gain a two-point advantage to win the set at 28-26.
Trailing 1-0 in set, the Lady Cougars came out with more focus in the second set taking a 19-9 lead behind senior Jodie Duncan setting up Turner and Gable at the net for kills.
But Arlington displayed why its one of the best teams in District 14-3A and the Region outscoring Munford 11-4 to make the overall score 23-21 in favor the Lady Cougars.
Munford literally stopped the Lady Tigers in their tracks when Turner blocked a spike attempt at the net to make the score 24-21. The Lady Cougars evened up the overall sets at 1-1 winning 25-21.
The Lady Tigers took the third set by that 25-21 score to go back in front 2-1 in overall sets. Facing defeat if they dropped one more set, the Lady Cougars came out in the fourth set ready to dominate.
“It’s not necessarily about fundamentals or how tall the other team is,” Makris said, “it’s about who has the momentum and who gives the best effort with the most energy. When we have energy, we’re a good team and we can beat anybody in our district in Region. And when we don’t, anybody in our district and Region can beat us.”
The Lady Cougars appeared unbeatable in the fourth set jumping out to a 7-2 advantage. The Lady Tigers fought back to make it 12-9 in favor of Munford.
Then the Lady Cougars outscored Arlington 13—2 to win the set 25-11. Gable’s overhead volley for a point made the score 19-10. Then the junior standout tallied points down the stretch with a kill and block. Duncan’s ace closed out the fourth set and forced a fifth set.
With the first team to reach 15 winning the match, Munford wasted no time taking a 9-4 lead. The Lady Tigers made the score 10-7 but the Lady Cougars outscored Arlington 5-0 in the closing moments to win the match.
With the Arlington test in the books, the Lady Cougars prepared for more big games against District 13-3A foes like Dyer County and Hardin County before a Sept. 19 date with the Bartlett Lady Panthers.
Makris is already grateful that the date falls on a Thursday and the Lady Panthers will travel to Munford. But just like the Lady Tigers, Bartlett is one of the premiere teams in Region 7-3A.
The Lady Panthers are the defending champions and reached State last season.
“We don’t want to overlook our district at all,” Makris concluded. “But now I’m looking forward to facing Bartlett to see what it has. That’s our other Regional competitor. Bartlett will be our next big thing to look at.”