By Thomas Sellers Jr.
BARTLETT — In recent years, the typical Cordova vs. Millington volleyball match is a seesaw affair going to the fifth set.
The Oct. 7 first round District 14-3A Tournament matchup between the two foes went as scripted in the Bartlett Gymnasium with the Millington Lady Trojans winning the first and third set 25-15.
The Cordova Lady Wolves earned the second and fourth set by scores of 25-23 and 25-22. In the decisive fifth set the Lady Wolves were able to outlast Millington 15-13 to advance to the next round.
“I feel like we played better than we have all year,” Millington senior Lindsey Harris said. “We’ve come a long way. We’ve got a young team. Cordova is a good team and they are scrappy. Both teams played hard, it was just who came up with the win last. They didn’t make as many errors as we did. It was a game of errors.”
When the Lady Trojans were executing and limiting miscues, they won two sets by 10 points. Millington freshman Ashley Freeze sparked the Lady Trojans in the first set breaking a 6-6 tie with a bump. Another Freeze score made the scoreboard read 11-8.
Cordova managed to tie the score at 13-13 when the Lady Trojans closed out the opening set on a 12-2 run.
The serving of Lady Trojan Autumn Taylor transformed the score from 13-13 to 19-14. Then Millington players like Ally Hall and Addison Coulter contributed to the run scoring points on a volley and kill respectively.
Freeze helped Millington take a 5-2 lead in the second set with an ace. The Lady Wolves didn’t let the Lady Trojans jump too far ahead forcing several ties, 11-11, 12-12, 16-16, 17-17, 19-19 and 20-20.
The Lady Trojans grabbed a 22-20 lead late in the second set. Then Cordova rallied to outscore Millington 5-1 to even up the overall match at a set apiece.
The third set started off close with Cordova leading 7-5. Millington senior Katie Dupree gave her team a boost with a volley for a score. Then the younger players like ninth grader Coulter helped Millington seize control.
The 6’2 Coulter scored on blocks at the net and serving aces. With the 25-15 third set win, the Lady Trojans were a set away from advancing.
The Lady Wolves nursed small leads throughout the fourth set before emerging with a 25-22 win to force a fifth set.
The final set was a microcosm of the overall game. The teams traded the advantage with a couple of ties mixed in. Millington was ahead 10-8 late in the set.
The Lady Wolves rallied to tied the fifth set at 11-11. Dupree regained the lead for Millington with a kill, but Cordova outscored the Lady Trojans 4-1 down the stretch to take the set 15-13.
The Lady Wolves were on to the next round and the Lady Trojans’ 2014 season was over.
Under new Head Coach Jenna Harper and Assistant Coach Brittany Williams, the Lady Trojans took the court with a plethora of underclassmen and two seniors Harris and Dupree.
“I feel like we did great with leadership considering we had more freshmen playing than ever,” Harris noted. “They pretty much made up the team. We had more freshmen starters than we ever had. I feel like we led the team pretty well considering how young our team was.
“I think they’re going to be great volleyball players,” she continued. “Maybe not this next year, but the following years they will come out and be district champs. They can go all the way if they want to. I think they’ll be great.”
Dupree saw time this season as a hitter and libero. Her jump serve tallied many points for the Lady Trojans. Harris was Millington’s primary setter and matured into a on and off the court leader.
“I hope that they’ve learned (from us) to never give up and always push forward no matter what the score is,” Harris concluded. “I hope they learn not to get mad at each other. Just keep pushing forward no matter what.”