By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Brighton Gymnasium is home to the Lady Cardinal Volleyball team from August to October.
Despite that normality, the players and first-year Head Coach Jackie Barrom were banned from the facility in early September. The ongoing global pandemic struck the Lady Cardinals leading to a quarantine and no access to the gym, no practices and no team interactions.
So the contest against the Lausanne Lady Lynx Sept. 21 was much needed for Brighton to get some kind of rhythm before playing league foes the Bartlett Lady Panthers and Arlington Lady Tigers to close out the month.
After a shaky start and Lausanne coming back to take the first set 26-24, Brighton rebounded and swept the next three sets 25-22, 25-15 and 25-16.
ìItís good playing teams like this that actually pass it and good for us to volley with and have good blocks with,î Barrom noted. ìWe get to see what we need to work on more for our harder district games. It helps them get to their defensive spots and our serves were good tonight. Just getting our hands on the ball after that 10-day quarantine. First sets we struggle and then after that weíre usually good.î
Brighton did not struggle in the opening moments of the first set behind the spark provided by senior NaíKyra Muex. Her energy and plays on the front line helped the Lady Cardinals jump out 8-0. A couple of hits by Muex and a spike from teammate Brie Howard helped Brighton surge to the early advantage.
With scores from players like Addie Kidd and Charlie Franks, Brighton was nursing a 18-12 lead later in the set.
Then Lausanne responded with a 14-6 run to snatch victory away from the Lady Cardinals. The Lady Lynx got timely scores from Reese Trusty, Latanna Oraedu and Kinney Boyle to pull off the comeback win.
The second set was tight throughout with Brighton ahead 14-12 after a Tabitha Palmer ace. Then the Lady Cardinals received a pair of aces from Howard to make the score 18-14. Down the stretch Brighton took advantage of Lausanne errors to pull off the 25-22 win to even up the overall sets at 1-1.
In the third set Brighton dominated the net and avoided the Lausanne blockers with tips. The 6-6 deadlock in the third set changed after a Howard kill and Brighton outscoring the Lady Lynx 19-9.
After winning the third set 25-15, Brighton seized control of the fourth and final set from the service line. Franks and other Lady Cardinals scored multiple points from serves and aces. Brighton took the fourth set 25-16.
ìWeíve done really well and have grown a lot,î Barrom said. ìBut itís been a really long season and we had a 10-day quarantine in the middle of it. But theyíve come a long way having a hard district. I think weíre 1-2 in the district right now. We play Bartlett tomorrow. If we beat them we’ll make the district tournament. Should be a good game.î
Barrom said when the team is on the court or at practice, things are wonderful. But the lingering pandemic has been a black cloud over everything in the world including Lady Cardinal Volleyball.
“It’s been a hard year but they’ve been great to me,” Barrom said. “They’ve helped me transition real well. They’ll help me out with anything like, What do yíall normally do for this’ “Well we usually do this. They’re really good with that. They’ve been great at helping me out and I love these girls.
“It’s been difficult with COVID,” she concluded. ìI think weíve had three to have it. We had a game and the next day two tested positive. The following day two more tested positive. We quarantined for 10-days and now we’re back. It was like those summer practices never happened. We had a long break.”