By Thomas Sellers Jr.
As spectators filed into the William Osteen Gymnasium Oct. 13 for the historic hosting of the Region 8-2A Volleyball Tournament, some people wearing black and gold in support of the District 15-2A champion Millington Lady Trojans were puzzled.
The look of query was born from the lack of experience for the program being in this spot. For the first time, the Lady Trojans were in Regionals and had a chance to reach Sub-State.
Some Millington faithful asked, “What happens when the Lady Trojans beat Douglass in the Regional Semifinals?”
The answer came when Millington defeated the Lady Red Devils 25-3, 25-14 and 25-12 to advance to the Region Championship game. The Lady Trojans guaranteed themselves their first trip to Sub-State in school history. Douglass entered the Regional Semifinal contest as the runner up in their district. The Lady Red Devils fell behind 15-0 in the opening set because of the serves of Lady Trojan Paige Hall. Millington players Addison Coulter and Ashley Freeze added service points leading to the 25-3 win.
Douglass was more competitive in the next two sets but Lady Trojans like Ally Hall, Dymond Green and Autumn Taylor kept Millington ahead comfortably in those sets leading to 25-14 and 25-12.
“I didn’t feel like we played up to our potential,” Millington Head Coach Jenna Harper acknowledged. “But again it is hard to do that when we scored in the first game 15 points off serves alone. It’s important to make sure that we are moving to base in situations like that and being ready for free ball. They started to do that better toward the end of the game.”
With Douglass behind them, the Lady Trojans made history earning a spot in the Region title game and Sub-State berth. The Covington Lady Chargers were able to dispose of the Craigmont Lady Chiefs in three sets to earn the other Regional Championship spot. For the fourth time this season, it was Millington vs. Covington.
“They know what this means,” Harper said. “I explained to them how important it is for seeding in Sub-State. You either host the No. 2 or go on the road to play the No. 1. That’s a very good Region and a long trip. So they understand the importance and they’re excited. We’ve just have to bring it.”
Covington was the team to bring it winning the championship in three sets 25-13, 25-18 and 25-16 to win the Region title.
The Lady Chargers earned the right to host a Sub-State game Thursday against Jackson South Side with a berth in the Class 2A State Volleyball Tournament on the line. Meanwhile the Lady Trojans had to travel to the Region 7-2A champions Dyersburg Lady Trojans on that same night.
Despite the disappointment of losing to Covington in the Regional Championship game, Harper put the historic significance of her team’s run in the 2015 campaign.
“It’s really exciting for this town, these girls and the school,” she said. “We’re our own school district now, so it’s important. We’ve had so many people stand behind us like Mr. (Larry) Jackson, president of Patriot Bank. Mr. (Jack) Leonard, from State Farm, both took us to lunch today at Old Timer’s.
“The administration has been great,” Harper concluded. “Teachers, staff and our local newspaper has just been following us and so excited. It’s just really exciting for the community and the girls. And they’ve really wanted it. And this is fun to just be a part of.”
The magical run for the Millington Lady Trojans came to end last Thursday in Dyersburg. The Lady Trojans of Dyersburg earned a spot in this week’s State Tournament in Murfreesboro.