By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The 2019 volleyball season was moments away from first serve. A new era of Lady Trojan Volleyball was about to begin with returning Head Coach Angie Buchanan. With a lot of uncertainty filling the air of the William Osteen Gymnasium, a familiar foe was on the other side of the net in the Munford Lady Cougars.
Those girls were also eager to kick off the volleyball season. Munford jumped out early in the first set to win 25-5. The Lady Cougars earned 25-15 and 25-19 victories in the next two sets to take the season-opening match.
“I loved it. It was awesome,” Munford junior Jordan Moore said. “We had so much energy. We’ve been waiting for four months. Take it day by day and get ready for district. We just want to have fun with it.”
The Lady Cougars were having all the fun in the first set behind Moore sparking the team with kills and blocks at the middle of the net. Then Moore pushed Munford to a 17-2 advantage with her serving featuring a couple of aces.
“You’ve always got to have high energy,” Moore said. “If you start off with high energy the whole teams come in together. And it builds as you go along as long as you keep it like that.”
Munford closed out the opening set with key plays from players like Riley Wade. Millington regrouped in the second set behind the solid play of junior Ally Marona.
She matched Moore play for play at the net with blocks and spikes. After a Marona ace, the scoreboard read 7-6 in favor of the Lady Cougars.
Moore created some separation with her serves. Moments later her teammate Corbin Michael executed a kill that made the tally 15-8. The Lady Cougars outscored Millington 10-7 the rest of the second set to earn a 25-15 win.
Munford looked to close out the overall game jumping ahead 9-5 in the third set. The Lady Trojans responded with a 10-5 run to take a 15-14 lead. During that stretch Millington received points from Marona, Sky Clark, Lexi Peerey, “Avery Smith and Fabiola Villa.
The next few moments of the set was a seesaw affair with three ties. Then Lady Cougar junior Emily Cox received the ball to serve.
“It’s really nerve-racking when you’re trying to serve back there in that situation,” she acknowledged. “It was the teamwork and staying together. When I got those aces it was the best feeling ever.”
Cox executed a pair of aces to increase the Munford lead from 18-17 to 22-17. Munford limited Millington to two more points while scoring the three needed to win the first game of the season.
“They did get better each set,” Buchanan said of her team. “There are a lot of new kids playing varsity. Two new setters out there, so there is whole new team pretty much playing varsity with a new coach.
“They’re learning a new system and new style,” she added. “I saw progression but it’s going to take them a while to learn to play together. They’ve got to have more repetition and get better at their skill level to compete with a team like this.”
Buchanan was happy to see the resolve her team after facing adversity.
“They never quit, never quit fighting,” she concluded. “I thought that they did get better each set and that’s something we can build on. We did start with a pretty tough game. They will get better.”