Streak ends but Lady Tigers still punch regional ticket

Published 4:57 pm Monday, October 23, 2006

Perhaps it was the surprise element that helped the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers volleyball team beat Andalusia in five sets a couple of weeks ago after the Lady Bulldogs steamrolled their way to a straight-set win the first time they played.
Andalusia made sure there was no surprise in the most important meeting between the teams, as the top-seeded Lady Bulldogs rolled to a 25-20, 25-15, 25-18 victory in the championship game of Tuesday's Class 4A Area 2 Tournament held at T.R. Miller.
The Lady Tigers, who had a school-record 11-game winning streak snapped with the loss, still advanced to Saturday's regional tournament at Andalusia where they met Area 1 champion Thomasville in the opening round.
Although Andalusia had a first-round bye and was idle while T.R. Miller had to eliminate W.S. Neal earlier in the afternoon to advance, Lady Tigers coach Sharon Peacock said fatigue was not a factor.
The best chance for the Lady Tigers (16-10) came in the first set. T.R. Miller had a 6-5 lead after a defensive kill by Watson, but Andalusia started to take control of the set after a four-point string by Caitlyn Edmondson. Andalusia ran its lead up to 15-9 after a kill by Blanche Alverson, but T.R. Miller battled back and narrowed the gap to just 21-20 after a defensive kill by Foster and a service point by Morgan Hubbard.
T.R. Miller never scored the rest of the set, as a defensive point and a trio of points by Anna Henderson closed things out.
The Lady Bulldogs had a double-digit lead in set two in just four rotations. The advantage reached 14-4 after three-point service by Edmondson and grew to as much as 18-6. A defensive point and three points by Michal Hubbard helped T.R. Miller get within 18-10, but the Lady Tigers never got any closer.
T.R. Miller's last lead in the match was an early 6-5 edge in set three. Four-point strings by Morgan Battey and Edmondson quickly erased it and put the Lady Bulldogs up 17-9.
T.R. Miller closed that gap to within 19-15 after a pair of points, one of which was an ace, by Chelsea Madden, but could get no closer.
The Lady Tigers secured a trip to the regional when they knocked off the W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles 25-11, 25-19, 25-15 in the opening round. It was T.R. Miller's fourth win of the season over W.S. Neal.
It did not take long for the tone of the match to be set. After W.S. Neal opened the match with a missed serve, T.R. Miller's Michal Hubbard served five straight points with three aces that quickly ran the lead up to 6-0.
The Lady Tigers' lead reached double digits when a kill by Brittany Watson on a serve by Shandreka Foster knocked the lead up to 14-4.
T.R. Miller still had a double-digit lead of 19-9 when a defensive point, four service points by Rachel Bostic and back-to-back kills by Watson all but closed it out.
W.S. Neal, which closed out its best-ever season with a 9-9 record, used a trio of kills by Maggie Crutchfield to take an early 7-3 lead in set two.
The serving of Foster and Courtney Scott helped bring the Lady Tigers back and past the Lady Blue Eagles.
Foster had a pair of points that gave T.R. Miller its first lead of the set at 8-7 and later tacked on three more. Scott gave the Lady Tigers some breathing room with a four-point string that put T.R. Miller in front to stay at 13-9. Scott also had the final
two points, one of which was an ace.
The Lady Tigers pulled away at a similar point in set three. W.S. Neal had an early lead and the set was still tied at 7-7 after a defensive kill by Caitlyn Blackman.
A defensive kill by Foster snapped that deadlock and put T.R. Miller ahead to stay. Foster followed up that kill with five service points that stretched the lead up to 13-7.
W.S. Neal battled back and cut the gap to just 16-15 with a kill by Crutchfield on a service by Jessica Fountain.
The Lady Blue Eagles never got the ball back thanks to Bostic and Watson. Bostic followed up a defensive point with the final eight points, which included three straight aces. Meanwhile Watson had six of her 11 kills in the third set, which included four straight on Bostic's service.

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