By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Fayette-Ware Lady Wildcats were joyful after winning the third set 25-22 in the William Osteen Gymnasium.
Being the underdog against one of the district’s best team and sneaking in a set was the reason for the moment of bliss last Monday. While Fayette-Ware was all smiles, Millington Lady Trojans Head Coach Whitney Horton was smiling as well.
But it wasn’t that glowing smile her players have seen before. Instead it was a clinch teeth gesture of frustration.
“I tell the kids, ‘A win is a win,’” Horton said at the conclusion of the match. “But we were very lucky to get by with this one tonight. The girls I really feel like we didn’t come ready to play. We weren’t doing the things I asked them to do. I feel our heads were somewhere else. We were very lucky to get through with a win tonight.”
Millington managed to pull out the overall win 25-11, 25-18, 22-25 and 25-8. The Lady Trojans transformed Horton’s facial expression into a genuine smile by the end of the night with the solid performance in the fourth and decisive set.
“It did click,” Horton said. “As a coach, sometimes you have to ‘inspire’ them with things. I feel I inspired them to do good things. We came together as a team and did the small things. Fundamentally we were in the game in the fourth set. Finally we closed out the win.”
The Lady Trojans started the game in a solid way winning by 14 points. In the second set Fayette-Ware stuck around taking the lead 14-13 midway through the frame.
Millington responded with a quick run sparked by a diving save by Lily Morton. The Lady Trojans picked up off Morton’s energy to take an 18-14 advantage when Hannah Clifton served up an ace.
Behind the athleticism of Addison Coulter and Paige Hall, Millington was able to earn the second set win 25-18. Coulter scored on a spike and an ace. Hall closed out the win with a kill.
In the third set Millington nursing a 10-8 lead. The Lady Wildcats outscored the Lady Trojans 8-3 to grab a 16-13 lead.
The set was tied at 16-16 when Coulter scored on a spike and Hall served up an ace. The set became a seesaw battle with ties at 19-19 and 20-20. Then Fayette-Ware outscored Millington 5-2 down the stretch.
Horton had a quick heart-to-heart with her players before entering the fourth set. The Lady Trojans came out with a renewed focus and jumped ahead 20-6. Millington seniors Hall and Tazerria House closed out the victory. Hall scored on a kill and House tallied the final point with a hit.
The win improved Millington to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in league play with wins over Haywood and Fayette-Ware. The Lady Trojans two defeats were courtesy of area rivals Munford and Tipton-Rosemark Academy.
Millington will face other preseason district favorites Ripley and Haywood in the near future. Horton is glad her team got a Case of the Mondays out of the way.
“Every team is prone to a bad game,” she concluded. “And thankfully we had a bad game tonight against an opponent we could easily beat I guess you could say. The kids didn’t play well but I’m glad we got that out of our system before we play a big district team.”