By Thomas Sellers Jr.
There are many signs of October arriving on the calendar.
The leaves are starting to turn colors. Most retail stores are featuring pumpkins and Halloween displays. And on a serious note, pink becomes a primary color bringing awareness to Breast Cancer.
Another indicator of October is TSSAA postseason volleyball. And Wendy Porter’s Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels had the playoffs in mind entering the Bolton Gymnasium last Thursday.
In there pink uniforms, the Division II-A private school Lady Rebels play solid all around to beat the public school Bolton Lady Wildcats 25-12, 17-25, 25-21 and 25-20.
“It’s definitely a good test,” TRA senior Bethany Berger said. “And it’s also a reminder to us that we need to compete against everybody. There’s no small teams. Everybody is going to be tough competition for us. To see we came out and fought hard in this public school game, it’s going to be a good postseason.”
TRA came out firing on all cylinders taking the first set by 13 points. But Bolton settled down and used it’s size at the net to pull out the second set 25-17.
Porter fanned the flames with her team in the huddle during the third set to get the Lady Rebels refocused. TRA erased a 16-11 deficit sparked by a Haley Ramsey spike. Then her teammate Mollie Word helped TRA pull even closer with a pair of kills to make the score 18-16 in favor of the Lady Wildcats.
Berger finally tied the set at 20-20 with a serve. Then the senior went into “Beefy Berger” mode with three straight aces to make the score 23-20. To close at the third set, Berger’s fellow senior Jordyn Thornell placed a tip over the net to the floor to give the Lady Rebels the 25-21 win.
One set away from the overall victory, TRA jumped ahead 6-0 once again with Berger serving through the Bolton defense.
The Lady Wildcats rallied later in the fourth set to tie it at 12-12. TRA regained control of the match when Thornell slapped down a kill to make the tally 18-15.
Lady Rebel senior Madison Cranford made the score 20-16 with a kill. TRA outscored Bolton 5-4 down the stretch to pick up the win.
“We’re actually shaping up pretty well,” Berger said. “We’re peaking at the right time. At first we started off kind of slow. We had some young girls but now they’re starting to get it. We’re starting to click as a team and click as groups. We’re clicking at the right time right when we need to.”
The Lady Rebels hosted an opening round game Tuesday night. Berger said the mindset heading into that game was about team.
“I have to remind everyone that can’t do anything individually,” she concluded. “One team gets a win. One team gets a lost. No one or two people carrying a team. Everyone has a job and everyone had to fulfill that job to the best of their ability.”