Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 1, 2013

GC Volleyball: The new Mildred

Mike Phillips
Corsicana Daily Sun

Mildred — Don’t look now, but Mildred is in sole possession of first place in the District 23-2A volleyball race.

Yup, that Mildred.

The new Mildred.

“We have never been here before,’’ said Mildred coach Joanna Vaden, who watched her team come back Tuesday night to beat defending district camp Teague in four hand-wringing sets.

Yup, that Teague.

“Three years ago we never had a winning record at Mildred, but these kids have really stepped up,’’ she said. “Now we know the level we can play. Now we have to keep going.’’

That’s what Tuesday’s match in the Mildred’s gym was all about — about finding out just where Mildred is, and the Lady Eagles responded in classic fashion, not only knocking off Teague, which had been 3-0 in the district race, but coming back to do it.

The Lady Eagles know exactly where they are today — in first place.

It wasn’t easy.

Midred lost the first set 25-20 and was trailing 11-5 in the second set when Vaden’s kids simply turned the set, the match, and possibly the district around. They came back to win 25-21, and just kept coming, slamming Teague in the third set 25-12 and then wrapping things up 25-21, winning — on of all things — a net serve by Teague.

The third set really changed the night.

Joanna Tapley started the third set with a slam and a block, and, with Callie Bland serving, Mildred pushed out to a 6-0 lead and never slowed down. Tapley and Savannah Pritchett, who led Mildred all night at the net, had another big set left in them and led the way in the fourth set along with some key blocks from sophomore Ella Ward, who helped ignite a 5-0 run that brought the Lady Eagles back from an 8-3 deficit. The final set was tied five times before Mildred broke away to take a 14-13 lead on a   nice slam by Abbie Burnham. The Lady Eagles built the lead to 21-15 with the help of a Tapley ace, a kill by Shelby Adamson and some clutch serving by Abyrn Turner.

Pritchett 15 kills, 10 digs, 5 aces, three blocks) and Tapley (9 kills, 11 digs, three aces)s led the way, but everyone pstepped up. Bland (19 assists, 4 kills, 3 aces,11 digs), Adamson (6 kills, 2 blocks) Burnham (3 kills, 3 aces) Sagen Williams (7 assists, 2 aces), and Watts ( 3 aces, 2 blocks) all had their moments.

Mildred is now 4-0 in the district and alone in first place, but Vaden doesn’t think this is any time to celebrate.

“We can celebrate tonight but we’ve never been in this position before,’’ she said after the match. “We have always been the underdog, and now the target is on our back. We’ve got to settle in and work harder.’’

The difference for Mildred was solid play from everyone and a big difference in the way the ids reacting to their mistakes.

“We have a tendency to get frustrated when we make mistakes and let our frustrations get to us,’’ Vaden said. “But we worked through our mistakes and we worked to fix them. This was our best match of the year.

“It means a lot (beating Teague). It gives us more confidence. We just have to keep it going.’’