By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The 2020 Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels entered their Sept. 15 match up against league foe Trinity Christian Academy unbeaten in Regional play.
But it was earlier in the season, the Lady Lions almost gave TRA a blemish on its league record taking the Lady Rebels to five sets. In the rematch in the TRA Gymnasium, it appeared the spaced out spectators would be in for another five-set classic after the Lady Rebels edged out TCA 26-24 in the opening set.
But TRA settled down and seized control of the next two sets winning 25-17 and 25-11. The Lady Rebels overall record improved to 11-3 and still unbeaten in Regional play.
“I think we’ve learned how to play with our whole hearts as imposed to playing with it when things are going well,” TRA Head Coach Amy Weatherington acknowledged. “We’ve made some adjustments with our lineup that makes us stronger and more effective. I think ultimately we just wanted this game.
“They tend to be kind of a mental group meaning they focus too much on their mistakes,” she added. “I think they did a really good job of just moving on to the next point tonight.”
Throughout the opening moments of the first set TRA held a narrow advantage. Lady Rebel Mary Catherine “Cat” Turner served up an ace that made the tally 19-14. With TRA one point away from victory, the Lady Lions roared back to erase a 24-19 deficit. Trinity forced extra points but the Lady Rebels secured the win 26-24.
In the second set TRA surged out to a 5-1 lead with big plays from players like Addie Glass. Lady Rebel Jordan “JoJo” Allen served an ace making the score 9-5 moments later. Trinity managed to make the score 9-7 before TRA proceeded with a 7-1 run with Kayla Clement increasing TRA’s lead with aces.
TRA’s serving was timely in the second set killing any momentum from Trinity. Sarah Allyn Thornell kept the trend going for the Lady Rebels with an ace making the score 19-10. After Cat made the score 21-13 with a tip at the net, TRA heavy hitters Thornell and Allen slammed the door on Trinity with spikes. Clement ended the second set appropriately with an ace making the score 25-17.
The third set was an early seesaw affair with the score 5-4 in favor of TRA. Then the Lady Rebels closed out the set and game with a 20-7 outburst. Weatherington said the third set was a total team effort and solid play all over the court.
Having a season during a global pandemic, Weatherington said she is glad her four seniors have a chance to make history. The Lady Rebels want to continue to bond and grow the heart necessary to win Regional and make a trip to the State Tournament.
“It’s definitely been different this season,” she concluded. “We’ve had to approach things differently, getting the team and the officials on the same page. It seems like it’s been different rules for every game. But they are learning how to roll with the punches and just focus on them. Not focusing on all the outside distractions.”