By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Things were going according to the Munford Lady Cougars’ plans last Thursday night.
Head Coach Nina Makris’ crew would arrive to the Brighton Gymnasium to start the District 13-3A Volleyball Tournament. The defending champs picked up a three-set victory over the Hardin County Lady Tigers to advance to the championship game later that night.
The next phase for the Lady Cougars was wait on the winner of the Dyer County Lady Choctaws vs. Brighton Lady Cardinals match up. And after five thrilling sets, Dyer County emerged as the opponent for Munford.
With the Lady Choctaws fresh off a 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 20-25 and 15-12 win over Brighton, the Lady Cougars were supposed to take advantage of a tired Dyer County squad and win the title in three sets.
But the Lady Choctaws had their own agenda of trying to win the district title and earn the No. 1 seed in Regionals. Dyer County won the opening set over Munford 25-20.
“We were definitely concerned,” Lady Cougar junior Cecily Gable said. “We were not expecting that. But they’re a really good team. They’re scrappy. They go after everything.
“We just kind of brought it together,” she added. “We knew our attitudes needed adjustment. We had to stay positive.”
The Lady Cougars regrouped in time to win the next three sets 25-21, 25-16 and 25-12 to win the district championship and earn the right to host this week’s Region 7-3A Volleyball Tournament.
“It a really good feeling winning,” Gable said. “They are a very good team so this is an even better feeling.”
After Dyer County proved they belonged in the elite class of Region 7-3A Volleyball winning the first set, Munford locked making adjustments with their attitudes and alignment on the court.
Munford was ahead 13-4 in the second set after Lily “Hammer” Turner tipped the ball through the Lady Choctaw defense. Dyer County rallied to make the score 16-13. T
Then Gable, District 13-3A Tournament MVP, slapped down a kill to make the score 18-14. Dyer County rallied once again to make the score 20-19 in favor of Munford.
The Lady Choctaws looked to tie the set with a spike when Turner made a block that landed on the other side of the net to make the score 21-19.
Dyer County tied the set at 21-21 when Gable broke the tie for good with a push for a point. The final point of the set came courtesy of Laura Leavell with a block to make the final 25-21.
In the third set Munford started to get into a rhythm taking a 17-8 lead after a Gable kill. Moments later, Turner scored on a tip that made the score 20-10. Then Turner used her hammer spike to score a point making the tally 21-12. Munford was on the brink of winning the third set when Precious Mills used a push to make the score 24-13. The Lady Cougars got the final point to take a 2-1 lead in sets.
In the decisive set, Gable made the score 15-9 with a push. Later a tip from the junior standout made the tally 20-12. And Gable closed out the night with an ace.
She was named to the District 13-3A All-Tournament team and MVP.
“It’s a big honor,” she said. “I couldn’t do anything without my team. So this is a team award.”
The district championship was also a team award for the Lady Cougars. And another perk to the title was earning the right to host the Regionals.
“It’s definitely helps having it at home,” Gable concluded. “We feel like we’ll have a bigger student section. We’ll definitely have an advantage, but we still have to play.”