By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Cordova vs. Millington volleyball means grab a Snickers and prepare to get on the edge of your seat because you’re not going anywhere for a while.
In two regular-season match ups, the Millington Lady Trojans won both in five, thrilling sets. And coming into the Oct. 8 District 14-3A Tournament first round match in the William Osteen Gymnasium, the winner would advance to the Semifinals to play the No. 1 seeded Bartlett Lady Panthers.
The Lady Wolves once again pushed Millington with the Lady Trojans emerging victorious in four sets 25-16, 21-25, 25-21 and 25-23.
“It feels great to get this win,” Millington senior Sierra Williams said. “It took a positive attitude and coach chewing us out in the huddle.”
Lady Trojans Head Coach Jessica Price used passion to keep her team focused on avoiding elimination after winning the first set in convincing fashion. Throughout the opening frame, Millington received production from Williams, Ariel Trice and Kara Fleming to build a 19-9 lead.
Later in the first set, Lady Trojan Katie Dupree slapped down a spike to make the score 21-13. Fleming served a laser for an ace that made the tally 22-13. Williams finished off the first set slamming down a spike to make the score 25-16.
But Millington seemed to lose focus in the second set trailing most of the frame. The Lady Trojans tied the set at 14-14, 16-16 and 18-18 before Cordova outscored Millington 7-3 down the stretch to win the set.
The third set followed a similar script of the second with the Lady Wolves maintaining a narrow lead over the Lady Trojans. Cordova was ahead 10-7 when Millington’s Meghan Sands scored on a hit. That play sparked the Lady Trojans to outscore Cordova 7-5 to tie the set at 15-15.
Williams had spike and hit for points during that stretch. And once again Fleming’s serving was productive tying the set with an ace. Another Fleming ace gave Millington a 16-15 advantage.
Cordova kept the third set close only trailing 21-20. The Fleming displayed her skills near the net with a spike to make the score 22-20. Williams followed suit with a kill to make the tally 23-20. Millington closed it out with a 25-21 win and took a 2-1 lead in sets.
The fourth set started off hot for the Lady Wolves taking a 10-7 lead. But when Dupree served up an ace to tie the set at 13-13, Millington outscored Cordova 12-10 down the stretch to pull out the set and advance to the next round.
“It feels good to advance,” Williams said. “I want Bartlett so bad. I can’t wait to play them tomorrow. They’re our biggest competition.”
Millington advanced to face the Lady Panthers and their standout Kenzie Fields. With Bartlett going unbeaten in league play during the regular season, the Lady Trojans entered the match-up an underdog.
“We’re their biggest competition also,” Williams noted. “We know they respect us too and we respect them. They’re a good team.”
Fleming said in order to pull off an upset over the Lady Panthers, Millington would need to get its minds right and play its best.
“We have to come out with a positive attitude and believe we can win,” she concluded. “We are intimidated by them. And it’s because of their one hitter. If we can get a couple of good digs and understand that we can beat her, we will win. We can win if we keep a positive attitude and work hard.”
The No. 1 Bartlett Lady Panthers proved to be too much for Millington. Bartlett took the Bolton Gymnasium court and defeated the Lady Trojans in three sets to advance to the district title game. The Lady Panthers won the championship beating Arlington in the finals.