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Brighton withstands Lady Trojan challenge, Lady Cards prepare for October

During one of the bright spots of the Brighton contest, Millington Lady Trojan senior Kara Fleming goes for a spike over the Lady Cardinal defense.

During one of the bright spots of the Brighton contest, Millington Lady Trojan senior Kara Fleming goes for a spike over the Lady Cardinal defense.

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Volleyball Meghan Sands spike

The Brighton Lady Cardinals and Millington Lady Trojans opened the 2013 volleyball season against each other in August.
In a competitive four-set match, Brighton was victorious in their home gym. The rematch took place Sept. 16 in the William Osteen Gymnasium. The Lady Trojans were hoping the change in venue would lead to a different outcome.
Once again the match up went to four sets with the scores close. And once again the Lady Cardinals were the winners this time 25-17, 25-16, 20-25 and 25-17.
Brighton senior hitter Ali Christmas was happy to leave Millington with a win but wished the Lady Cardinals would have closed it out in the third frame.
“I knew it would be four,” she acknowledged. “We just have to learn how to finish our games, don’t let them get those last four or five points. We kind of gave it to them there at the end. We have to come out strong and finish strong.”
Millington came out strong in the first set taking an 8-4 lead behind the play of senior Kara Fleming. After scoring at the net, Fleming used her service game to help the Lady Trojans build an early advantage.
Millington was still ahead at 11-10 when Lady Cardinal Lilly Hill tied the set with an ace.
Brighton captured the lead and Christmas added to the advantage with a spike making the tally 14-12. The Lady Cardinals were ahead 18-12 when Charlie Hansen hit an ace.
The Lady Trojans rallied to make the score 18-16 behind the performance of senior Ariel Trice. She served up three straight aces in the stretch.
But the Lady Cardinals took back the momentum including a Hill kill that made the score 23-16.
“I’ve just been inspired by watching the older players and how they hit,” Hill said. “It just makes me want to try harder to be a better hitter. Ali is definitely one of them.”
Brighton took advantage of Millington miscues late to win the opening set 25-17.
In the second set the Lady Cardinals took a 7-2 lead early and never looked back. Millington fought back to make the score 8-6 when Hansen used a tip to score a point.
Brighton closed out the second set with an ace to give the Lady Cardinals a 25-16 win and a 2-0 lead in sets.
Millington won the third set keeping the frame close then pulled away late with five straight points to win 25-20.
It appeared for a moment the match would head to a fifth set when Fleming scored on a kill that made the score of the fourth set 14-12 in favor of Brighton.
With the score 20-16, Hill scored on a hit that seized momentum for Brighton.
“Closing out a game always feels good,” she said. “Especially when you know it’s like the last two points and you want it so bad. So it feels good to close it out.”
The final blow came when Christmas slapped down a spike to the Millington Gymnasium floor to give Brighton the set 25-17.
“It’s always gratifying to win a game,” Hill said. “It gives you the excitement to go to the next one and just want to show out. We’re going to push harder toward the next game and try to win it in three instead of four.”
Christmas said with October approaching, the Lady Cardinals want to improve so they can be one of the final four teams in the Region. She added winning games in convincing fashion is a sign of improvement.
“We have the potential to and the want to,” she concluded. “As long as we finish our games, we have the skills and everything you want. We just have to do it.”

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