By Thomas Sellers Jr.
It was apparent the Dyersburg Lady Trojans were going to cruise to a sweep of the Munford Lady Cougars Sept. 12.
Dyersburg won the first two sets in the Munford Gymnasium 25-17 and 25-21. But the Lady Cougars fought back in the next two sets prevailing 25-21 and 25-17.
The match would come down to a fifth set with victory awarded to the team reaching 15 first. When the score was tied at 14-14, Munford Head Coach Angie Gover received an obvious question from one of her underclassmen.
“Some endurance there,” Gover said. “One of the girls asked, ‘How far do you go in the fifth set?’ Until you win by two, you keep going. In the past we’ve had trouble finishing, so I am so proud that they came back, executed and finished.”
Munford finished off the five set thriller winning 19-17. In the middle of a tough District 14-3A schedule, Gover wanted Dyersburg on the agenda to keep her team sharp.
The Lady Trojans are regulars in making deep runs in Class 2A, and Dyersburg made that clear winning the first two sets over the Class 3A Lady Cougars.
With the third set tied 14-14, Munford’s Ciera Atkinson snatched momentum for her team with a spike. Lady Cougar senior Ally Browning executed a block at the net to turn the tide in favor of Munford.
Ahead 19-15, another Munford senior stepped up when Kelsey Frizzell made a dazzling play to score point diving to the floor. Big plays by Lady Cougars Maddie Rittinger and Hannah Burkhart closed out the third set 25-21.
With Munford on the board, the Lady Trojans were still one set away from winning the match. Dyersburg held the early advantage until Munford broke an 8-8 deadlock.
Munford proceeded with a 4-0 run highlighted by a Browning tip. Then the Lady Cougars attacked the net with spikes from Atkinson, Rittinger and Jordan Moore. Munford pulled away to win 25-17 and force the decisive set.
The Lady Cougars took a 12-9 lead in the fifth set when Moore slapped down a kill. Moore’s next spike made the score 13-10.
Dyersburg rallied to tie the set at 13-13. Both teams would seesaw battle with deadlocks at 14-14, 15-15, 16-16 and 17-17. Munford was able to secure the two points needed to win the match.
“To be able to comeback after being beat the first two sets, that was a huge fight,” Gover said. “I’m so proud of the girls because they (Lady Trojans) are a quality team.”
With the postseason around the corner, Gover said the experience of the Dyersburg game will give her girls a reference point.
“Knowing that they can, we’ve been so close with some of the teams in the district,” she said. “Take Arlington for instance, we beat them one set. Then they came back and beat us three sets. I know we can do so much better. And this proves it right here.
“Hopefully they’ll remember this night and the fight they had to come back in some of those big district games,” Gover concluded. “We can do it.”