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Lady Cougars outlast Lady Trojans on Senior Day, next up is District 13-3A Tournament in Brighton

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Munford's Cecily Gable slams a spike against Millington.

Munford’s Cecily Gable slams a spike against Millington.

Munford's Lily "Hammer" Turner tries to block a hit by Millington Meghan Sands last week.

Munford’s Lily “Hammer” Turner tries to block a hit by Millington Meghan Sands last week.

The cheers echoed from the Munford Gymnasium bleachers Oct. 1 throughout the evening.
“Go JoJo!”
“Get on my Leavell!”
The student section was busy all night during the Munford Lady Cougars vs. Millington Lady Trojans volleyball contest. And the pupils of Munford had an early start to their cheering with Senior Night activities held prior to the first serve.
The students, friends, family members, fans and parents came together to honor Lady Cougar seniors Jodie “JoJo” Duncan and Laura Leavell. Munford Head Coach Nina Makris joined Munford Principal Courtney Fee to recognize the duo, present gifts and celebrate its four years in the program.
Duncan and Leavell capped off their Munford home regular-season careers with a hard fought 26-24, 25-11 and 25-19 win over rival Millington.
After locking up the victory, the well-wisher came from the stands to shower Duncan and Leavell with love. The moment overwhelmed the girls.
“Emotional,” Leavell acknowledged. “It’s really weird. I don’t even really feel like we’re seniors. It all just started and now it’s over. The season went really fast. It’s just so surreal how quick it came. It really doesn’t feel like it’s real.”
The Lady Trojans brought the Lady Cougars to reality quickly in the first set jumping out 5-0. Lady Cougar Cecily Gable got Munford on the board with a spike. Millington maintained the advantage to the midway point of the set.
Leavell tied the set at 12-12 with a block at the net. Then Millington’s Meghan Sands regained the lead for the Lady Trojans 13-12 with a block of a Gable kill attempt.
Then the Lady Cougars proceeded with a 10-3 run to take a 22-16 lead. It appeared Munford would cruise to victory in the first set. But Millington’s Sierra Williams got the serve. Her laser down the line for an ace made the score 22-18.
Then Williams got some help from teammate Kara Fleming with a return for a point to make the score 22-20. After another William ace, Lady Trojan senior Ariel Trice tied the set at 22-22 with a push.
Williams gave Millington the lead late in the first set with her third ace. Trailing 24-22, Munford turned to Lily “Hammer” Turner to fight off defeat.
The junior middle hitter scored on two tips to tie the game at 24-24. Then Gable served up an ace of her own to give Munford the 25-24 lead. And Turner used her hammer to close out the set with a spike.
Munford took that momentum into the second set to control the tempo throughout winning 25-11.
And the third set was played out like the first frame with the only difference Munford jumping out to a big lead. The Lady Trojans rallied to close the gap before falling 25-19.
The Lady Cougars closed out the regular season with a win. And the career list of accomplisments for Leavell and Duncan have continued the solid legacy of Munford Volleyball started in 2005. In that stretch the Lady Cougars have reached seven Sub-States and two State Tournaments.
Duncan and Leavell have been a part of three Sectional teams and a State Tournament appearance from 2010.
Leavell said she wants to make it to another Sub-State and State Tournament.
“We’ve just got to remember we still have games to play and games to win,” she said. “We’ve just got to go hard in practice and prepare to go hard in districts.”
Duncan said being a part of the winning tradition and keeping it alive is important for future Lady Cougars. She noted players like Scarlet Gable, Crystal Williams, Kelsey Hale, Lauren Zvolanek, Sami Jo Schulz and other graduates of the program have taught them what the 10th month of the year means in Cougar Country.
“It’s October,” she concluded. “We learned hardwork and determination from them since we were freshmen. It’s fun to now be the leaders and help them (our underclassmen) for years to come. We have a good shot this year. I like our chances.”

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