By Thomas Sellers Jr.
To prove that Sept. 1 wasn’t a fluke, the Brighton Lady Cardinals came down to the Munford Gymnasium with a point to prove.
Meanwhile the host Lady Cougars came into the Tuesday night rematch with revenge on their minds. Earlier in the month Brighton pulled off an upset giving the Lady Cardinals their first victory over their district and Tipton County rivals in many years.
The rematch was full with thrills and highlights. And after three competitive sets, the Lady Cardinals were victorious again 25-19, 25-23 and 26-24.
Brighton Head Coach Shayna Johnson said the Lady Cougars were up for the challenge, but her squad used another reference point from earlier in the season to surpass the Munford intensity.
“Honestly we were in that situation against Arlington where we went up 2-0 and we let it slip away,” she recalled. “We knew going into that third set it was going to be a dog fight. We just pulled it out. We showed more heart than them in that particular set.”
The Lady Cardinals used a new strategy to again an advantage in the first set to pull off a 25-19 win. The Lady Cougars made adjustments in the second set to keep the score close trailing 19-15. Munford standouts like Corbin Michael and Jordan Moore kept the tally close.
Then Brighton seized momentum with an Andi Coulston spike. Later in the frame Lady Cardinal Addie Kidd slapped a kill that became a facial on a Munford defender making the score 23-19.
Moore kept Munford close down the stretch attacking from the front row. But the Lady Cardinals pulled out the 25-23 win when Brie Howard used a tip for the winning point.
“We just came and we knew we weren’t going to be able to do the same thing in order to win,” Johnson noted. “We had to change up our game plan. We did a lot of more pushes, hits and deep corner hits that we’ve been working on in practice these past couple of weeks. It paid off. Mixing up the hits and being unpredictable won that game for us.”
All in the Munford Gymnasium could predict the third set would be close and highly contested. The score was tied three times before Coulston scored on a tip to make the score 10-9.
Over the next stretch Brighton used big plays from Lauren Baskin, Mackezie Winnans and Demiyah Gatlin to build a 21-13 advantage.
Moore snapped the Lady Cardinal momentum with a kill. Michael followed with a block to make the score 21-15. Then Moore used her serving to keep Brighton off balanced and Munford climbed back to with in three points.
Gatlin stopped the Lady Cougars’ surged with a spike. It was Gatlin moments later that gave Brighton some breathing room with a hit to make the tally 23-21.
Munford managed to tie the game 24-24. Brighton regained the lead at 25-24. Then it was Coulston that ended the game with a kill. Brighton improved to 10-3 overall and 2-2 in district play.
“That Arlington game was a big learning curve for us,” Johnson concluded. “Coming in hot winning 2-0 against a big rival, a well-coached team and thinking we had it won then getting smacked in the face that teaches you a pretty big lesson, pretty fast.”