Miller volleyball has ‘great experience’ at Elite 8
Facing off their first ever Elite 8 state volleyball championships Wednesday in Pelham, the rookie T.R. Miller Lady Tiger volleyball team was swept by the Ashville Lady Bulldogs 3-0 to end their season in the quarterfinals.
The Lady Tigers lost 25-11, 25-6, and 25-16. The loss ended the Lady Tigers season with a 20-11 record.
“The Elite 8 was a great experience for the girls and myself,” head coach Greg White said. “Everything there was done in a first class manner and they made it a special experience that these girls will not forget. Hopefully with hard work and a little luck we can return.”
Ashville 25, T.R. Miller 11
Ashville jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and 15-2 and 16-3 lead over the Lady Tigers in game one en route to a 25-11 win in game one to take a 1-0 lead in the best of three match.
The Lady Tigers of Brewton cut the lead to 17-7 but lost by 14.
“I have to give Ashville credit because they took the game to us,” White said. “Against Montevallo in sub-state, I thought we were the more aggressive team and that’s why we were able to win. Ashville was the more aggressive team, and that was the difference. I thought my kids played extremely hard and got after it, but we just couldn’t get anything going offensively. We spent the whole game playing defense and digging out kills and we were not able to set up much and run any offensive plays. Again I thought they showed alot of toughness and character and played with alot of T.R. Miller pride, but it just didn’t work out for us.”
Natalie Neal led the Lady Tigers with three kills in the loss, and Elizabeth Nelson added two service points.
Ashville 25, T.R. Miller 6
In game two, T.R. Miller fell behind 3-0 but cut the lead to 3-2 before falling to 17 straight points to Ashville as they went on top 20-2 before winning by 19, 25-6.
T.R. Miller would cut the lead to 21-5 and 22-6, but Ahsville got the final three points of the match to get the win and drop T.R. Miller to 0-2 in the match and putting them one game away from elimination.
Nelson and Leah Brundidge had one service point each in the loss to lead the Lady Tigers while Leigh Margaret Bostic and Taylor Guthrie had one kill each.
Ashville 25, T.R. Miller 16
Facing elimination and needing a win, T.R. Miller scored 16 points in game three, one shy of their total points from games one and two, but lost by nine to end their season.
T.R. Miller trailed 2-0 and 4-2 before tying the game at 4-4. From there, Ashville built a 7-4 lead and a 12-5 lead, but T.R. Miler could cut the lead to 14-10.
T.R. Miller later trailed 17-13 and 19-15 before Ashville outscored the Lady Tigers 6-1 to end the game and the season for the Lady Tigers.
Nelson led T.R. Miller with two service points and a block while Emily Waters, Bostic and Guthrie had one point each. Guthrie and Nelson had one kill each.
T.R. Miler had only 11 total service points in the three games against Ashville.
Despite the loss, White was proud of the team’s season, which saw the school’s first appearance in the Elite 8.
“We had a remarkable season,” White said. “It started this summer with our weight training and conditioning program. From day one, these girls did everything that was asked of them. It wasn’t always a lot of fun but they knew that for us to get better we had to outwork people. They made a commitment to me and to each other and it paid as the season progressed. The ultimate goal for every team is to win the state championship. we didn’t do that. But by advancing to the Elite 8 we gave ourselves an opportunity to play in a championship tournament. Finishing the season as one of the top 8 teams in 3A is a nice accomplishment and we will use that as motivation to get better in the future.”
The team will lose five seniors going into next season.
“I am losing five seniors that mean a lot to me,” White said. “Leigh Margaret Bostic, Teralyn Moore, Natalie Neal, Elizabeth Nelson and Emily Waters have all been part of the volleyball program since seventh grade. They have done so much to get us where we are today. They have provided leadership, a great work ethic and a desire to win. They will be hard to replace and they will be missed.”