By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The opening of the District 15-2A Volleyball Tournament was a second chance for the 2016 Millington Lady Trojans.
A season that started off with a lot of promise hit a rough patch in mid-September. But Head Coach Tamarah Brandon’s Lady Trojans rallied to finish near the top of the league and earn a home game against Haywood County.
The Lady Tomcats arrived to the William Osteen Gymnasium on Oct. 3 for the first round contest. Millington took care of business winning 25-7, 25-7 and 25-15 to advance to the Semifinals against the Liberty Lady Crusaders.
“They played great against us,” Brandon said. “They hustled and I will give them their props on that. We’re going to come ready tomorrow to play. We’ll play Liberty and we’ve lost against them twice. Last year I heard we lost to Covington twice but got them in district. So I hope that’s the case this time.”
To earn the third match-up against Liberty, Millington seized control of the first set jumping out 13-1 when Dymond Green slapped down a spike. Lily Morton’s ace ended the opening set 25-7.
The second set concluded 25-7 as well sparked by the play of Millington junior Addison Coulter. She All-District standout served her time into cruise control with three aces in a row.
The Lady Tomcats were more competitive in the third set holding the lead 11-9. The Lady Trojans outscored Haywood 16-4 down the stretch to win the overall game.
The victory advance Millington to the host site Haywood to take on the Lady Crusaders.
“It’s still do-or-die,” Brandon said. “If we lose tomorrow we’re out of it. If we win, we’ll keep going and we’ll play for the championship Thursday.”
Millington won the district tournament last season under Jenna Harper to reach Regionals and Sub-State for the first time in school history.
Brandon was happy to get her first postseason win as head coach after she was preparing her team for victory No. 2.
“We reflected on how we lost to them the first two times,” she said. “And we play on fixing those small things in our game like getting serves over and communicating. Covering each other like our hitters and our blockers. And having fun. The most important part of playing volleyball is having fun and being relax.”
The Lady Trojans endured some shake ups on the roster and had to mix in some new players midseason. Brandon felt the chemistry was back in time to make a deep run.
“It’s time for a comeback and we’re ready,” she concluded. “They already see that I want it. If I keep pushing and motivating them, they will say ‘We got this and we can do this.’ They see that I want it for them and that will keep pushing them and motivating them.”
The Lady Crusaders earned their third victory over Millington Oct. 4 winning 3-1 in sets. The season ended for the defending champs Lady Trojans. Liberty advanced to the championship and will participate in this week’s Regional Tournament.