Eminence’s volleyball team put up a good fight in its final match of the season, but came up just short as host Anderson County sent the Lady Warriors away after two games Monday night in the opening round of the 28th District tournament.
Eminence, the No. 4 seed, played the underdog role well in the opening game of the best-of-three series, holding the early lead and building it to 11-7 midway through the eye-popping start. Anderson, the No. 1 seed, then used a couple of spurts to even up the scoreboard and open up its own lead.
Anderson ended the first game in front 25-17, then came back to win the second game 25-9 to advance to the finals the following night. For the Lady Warriors, it was just the end they were looking for after a 1-18 record during the regular season.
“I definitely thought we ended the season on a high note,” assistant coach Tanya Mitchell said after the game. “I thought that first game was just awesome. We were communicating so well and our team chemistry seemed very good. We might not have won but we played well together.”
Mitchell and head coach Kristen Lively made some changes before the game, which included moving Keri Marlin and Nikki Gamble into the starting lineup. They were joined by Andrea Perez, Chelsea Wright, Kara Capps and Sara Floyd. Savannah Meadows and Chelsea Mathis came off the bench to add depth to the young but improved squad.
“With our new lineup, I thought we played really well together as a team,” Mitchell said. “It turned out to be a good game for us.”
The Lady Warriors stunned Anderson in the early going when they returned a majority of Anderson’s hard-hit spikes and kept Anderson chasing the ball with deep shots to the backline.
Anderson opened the game with a quick 3-0 lead before Eminence went on its own 3-0 run to tie the game. The Lady Warriors then went in front for the first time, 4-3, where they stayed until they built the 11-7 advantage. But Anderson called a timout to regroup, and came out of the short break with two quick spikes to close the gap. Eminence then had two unforced errors to even up the scoreboard at 11.
Anderson continued its run, which Eminence tried to slow with two timeouts — one when trailing 14-11 and another when trailing 19-13. Eventually, Anderson ended the first game ahead by eight points in what was one of Eminence’s best games of the entire season.
Game two followed a similar story line with Eminence staying close to Anderson early on and even taking small leads until Anderson once again started to pull away. This time around, the top team in the district during the regular season used a few long runs to put the game out of reach.
Eminence ended the 2008 campaign with a 1-19 record, with its lone win coming against Evangel Christian Aug. 28. The team will return all of its players minus senior Sara Floyd, who served as the team’s co-captain with Perez. Floyd’s go-get-the-ball attitude and the leadership she provided to a very young squad will be missed. As for the rest of the Lady Warriors, they will be back on the court next year when they hope to rebound from the one-win season.
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