By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels came into their Sept. 11 match up against the Ripley Lady Tigers with a lot on their minds.
The emotions ranged from remembering those who were lost 16 years ago on that date in the terrorists attacks to honoring the memory of classmate Lauren Moody.
The Lady Rebels even took a moment to brighten up things before the first set recognizing their parents with yellow carnations. Then it was time for TRA Head Coach Wendy Porter to get her girls focused on taking care of business against Ripley in the TRA Gymnasium.
The gold-claud Lady Rebels used consistent offense from a variety of players to prevail in a sweep 25-13, 25-8 and 25-17.
TRA took to the court in the non-league match honoring Lauren Moody, who passed away in December 2015 from cancer. The gold jerseys were about of the Gold Out series during the month of September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
“When our intensity is up, our skill level goes up,” TRA senior Sydney Pilkington acknowledged.
TRA’s intensity level needed a boost with the melancholy surroundings. Moody would have been a senior this season. Her fellow classmates Pilkington, Haley Ramsey and Kallie Alexander got their younger teammates focused on the task of beating the Lady Tigers.
“I would say we played down a little bit,” Ramsey said. “But we did execute well enough on offense.”
In the opening set the Lady Rebels jumped out to a 6-1 advantage sparked by a Mary Leslie Cranford spike. During that rally Sam Hopper served up an ace and Ramsey slapped a kill.
TRA finally reached a double-digit lead at 16-6. Cranford kept the Lady Rebels in a secure spot later in the first set with a tip and block at the net making the score 21-12. Her teammates Hopper and Jordan Allen contributed with spikes to make the tally 24-12.
After the opening set concluded 25-13, TRA came out with more intensity in the second set jumping ahead 11-1. Maggie Stephens started things with a spike followed by a kill by Allen.
Ramsey was flying around the net with kills during that stretch. Once Ripley broke the run, Ramsey was back on the attack with a spike to make the tally 12-2.
The Lady Rebels maintained the momentum throughout the set including a Neely Turner tip and a Sarah Allyn Thornell ace that made the advantage 23-7.
TRA was victorious in the second set 25-8.
The third set brought the best out of Ripley with Lady Tigers like Chesney Dearth scoring points. Dearth’s highlight of the set was a tip aimed away from two leading Lady Rebels near the net.
Ripley stayed close with the score 17-16. Then Alexander came to the rescue for TRA with a block at the net to make the tally 18-16. That point was followed by a Turner serve and Ramsey kill. Cranford slapped a spike that made the score 23-17. TRA earned the third set 25-17.
Alexander said the Ripley match up was a chance for TRA to prepare for the stretch run of September and postseason of October.
“It’s definitely time for us to practice our quick sets and hits,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to work on things.”
The Ripley game was also a chance for the 2017 Lady Rebel Volleyball to take a team picture in honor of Lauren. The overall day put life in perspective for some of the TRA players.
“This is the first game of our senior year to honor her,” Ramsey concluded. “It makes you want to fight hard. It puts things in a better perspective. You want to fight hard out here but there are people fighting hard for their lives.”