Lady Tigers send seniors off in style

Junior+Kaitlyn+Cross+jumps+to+make+a+point+during+a+match+between+the+Lady+Tigers+and+Greenville+Lions.+

Photo by Alyssa Higgins

Junior Kaitlyn Cross jumps to make a point during a match between the Lady Tigers and Greenville Lions.

Story by John Morgan, sports editor

The Lady Tigers volleyball team ended their regular season on a high note with a sweep of the Greenville Lions.

This win propelled the Lady Tigers (24-9 overall, 12-2 district) into a tie with Sulphur Springs for first place in district 16-5A. Both teams will face off in the district championship at Mount Pleasant today to break their tie.

“We were definitely motivated to with this game for [the seniors],” junior Victoria Willis said. “We wanted them to know that we are behind them as we get into the postseason.”

The first set saw the Lady Tigers start and end with impressive runs winning 25-18. They jumped out to a 5-0 lead and scored five of the last six points with juniors Vicki Willis and Kaitlyn Cross shining bright with a series of aces and blocks.

Both teams traded blows early in the second set before a timeout with the score tied at 10-10. The Lady Tigers then reeled off nine straight points and scored 11 of the last 13 to take the set 25-13. Tenacious defense by Cross and junior Unique McBride highlighted the run.

In the final set, the Lady Tigers sensed a sweep as they took an early lead and never let down. Leading by as much as 12 points, they were able to fend off a late Greenville rally to complete the victory 25-19.

While the team had other focuses during the game, the team managed to deliver its three seniors – Aliyah Forte, Rikia Johnson and Juanita Lewis – a pleasant final outcome at home.

“This was a great win for our team,” Forte said. “We have enjoyed a good season so far, and this was a fun way to go out at home.”

This year’s group of seniors has seen the volleyball team soar to new heights. With a new youthful core, the Lady Tigers seem primed to compete for years to come.

“We have grown a lot as not only a team but a family this year,” Forte said. “I know that next year’s group will continue to improve, and I can’t wait to come back and watch them.

The Lady Tigers now shift their focus to their matchup against Sulphur Springs to decide their opponent in the playoffs. Both teams split their regular season series with the home team winning both games.

“This game would mean everything to us,” Willis said. “[Texas High] has not won district in a long time, but as long as we play like we know we can, we should be able go far.”

No matter the outcome on Friday night, the Lady Tigers will advance into the playoffs. Team members are optimistic in their chances to perhaps shake up their bracket.

“We just have to keep our success going forward,” Forte said. “If we continue to practice, watch film and prepare for each opponent, we can make a deep run in the playoffs.”