By Thomas Sellers Jr.
While the answers may vary, the 2015 Millington Lady Trojan Volleyball team has accomplished a few first in program history. With the simple goal of obtaining a banner for the William Osteen Gymnasium wall entering August, the Lady Trojans took another step Oct. 5 hosting the Haywood Lady Tomcats in the first round of the District 15-2A Volleyball Tournament.
Millington led by seniors Ally Hall and Ashley Freeze dominated the Lady Tomcats 25-9, 25-10 and 25-11.
“It feels really good (to advance) because this is my senior year and I want to end it on a strong note,” Hall said. “I want to be able to leave Millington my senior year with a very good volleyball team.
“I think Coach Harper has come here and worked really hard,” she added. “And us girls, we want it really bad as well.”
Head Coach Jenna Harper’s Lady Trojans finished second in district in the regular season behind Covington. Millington earned a home postseason game as the second seed. Haywood was the first round opponent for Millington and only trailed 8-5 in the opening moments of the first set. Harper called a timeout to help her team snap out of its funk.
Freeze sparked her teammates with a spike and the Lady Trojans jumped ahead 16-8. Millington sophomore Paige Hall helped during that stretch with four aces. Lady Trojans Autumn Taylor and Freeze closed out the first set with several points leading to the 25-9 win. In the second set Addison Coulter served up three aces to put Millington ahead 5-1. Then Freeze took her turn behind the service line with a trio of aces to make the score 10-3. Paige Hall made the score 11-3 with a backhand tip. None for her setting, the younger Hall score later in the second set another tip to make the score 20-7. Hall, Coulter and Dymond Green closed out the second set with aces giving Millington the 25-10 victory.
The Lady Trojans look to close out the match in the third set jumping ahead 13-4. The elder Hall finished off Haywood with a kill and ace. The 25-11 third set win sent the Lady Trojans to the next round of the tournament to face the Ripley Lady Tigers in Jackson.
“The season has been going good but we still have to push ourselves really hard for our seniors,” Paige Hall said. “They want that banner. And I’m pushing myself really hard because she’s my sister and I want her to have the best senior year of her life and I want it for the other seniors too.” Paige said to take another step toward their team goal of a banner, she has to be focused on doing her part as a setter. “My mindset is to play and do all I can,” Paige said. “I don’t have to worry about anybody else. I have to go out there and do what I need to do. And that will push them harder.”
Ally said the mindset of the seniors going into the elimination game against Ripley is simple.
“To not end the season tomorrow, we can’t end the season tomorrow,” she said. “I want us to push hard and play our hearts out. I don’t want us to have the season end tomorrow. I want us to push toward winning districts.
“There are no volleyball banners in here,” Ally concluded. “It would mean a lot to put a banner in here. The latest banner now is around 2008. We feel we need to put another one up there to show them who Millington is.”
The Lady Trojans outlasted Ripley Tuesday night in Jackson three sets to one. Millington advances to Thursday night’s championship game in the District 14-2A Tournament. Millington’s win over Ripley guarantees the Lady Trojans a spot in the Region 8-2A Volleyball Tournament.