Volleyball senior night

(left to right): Seniors Abigail Bierbaum, Marina Smart, Jamera Jones, Cadrian Dennis, Keagin Brooks, and Kaliya Morris stand together on their home court on senior night.

The Murray High Tiger volleyball team suffered from an emotional roller coaster at the crosstown game against the Lady Lakers last night. Before the game, Murray High had an opportunity to honor the five seniors that have been the backbone for the Lady Tigers this year. 

Murray High also finally showed what they have been capable of and working hard for all season. It took all of five sets for Calloway to break down the Lady Tigers 3-2 (25-22, 25-21, 15-25, 20-25, 5-15).

Whether it was the hype from the Dawg Pound or the realization that five players were bringing their season to a close, the Lady Tigers brought an energy to the court that they’ve had tucked away all season. 

“They came out in the first and second sets and they were ready to play,” Westbrook said. “They were ready to fight, and there was nothing wrong. They were trusting each other. They were moving around with every ball. They were battling.”

At this point, head coach for the Lady Lakers, Lindsey Jones, noticed that her team was getting ahead of themselves and attempting big kills that they weren’t able to finish. 

“We finally just had to tell them to stop trying to kill it,” Jones said. “Our first set, we had 11 hitting errors. It was horrible. We were just hitting the ball out over and over again. We tried to go too hard because we were so anxious. Finally after that set, I said, ‘You have to get five good hits in before you can really hit it.’ We stepped up, and we started getting our hits in.”

It was almost as if two completely different teams walked onto the court for the third set. A game that had been back-and-forth turned into Calloway dominating the set 25-15 and only having one hitting error. 

“Somewhere in the third set, we started to get a little lax and our feet became still,” Westbrook said. “It was almost like they lost a little bit of their fight. I think in their hearts and inside they wanted it deep down, but I’m just not sure that we know how to put the energy and the want behind our game.”

The Lady Lakers won the match 3-2. 

Lady Laker Kylie Stallings led with eight service aces, four kills, and a whopping 42 digs. Lady Laker Kamden Underwood had five service aces and 23 digs. Lady Laker Maggie Fraher led in kills with 14.

“We were passing and doing so well. I really think the only thing we failed at the first two sets was hitting,” Jones said. “I don’t think we wanted to lose. That’s for sure, and it definitely showed. We wanted it more.”

Despite the loss, Westbrook is still proud of her team, especially her seniors. 

“They’re a group of leaders, and there’s a lot of heart amongst our seniors,” Westbrook said. “There’s not a day that they came not ready to work and give everything they had. Hopefully they know that they’re appreciated and that I appreciate them for all of their leadership and hard work that they’ve put in over the season.”

As for the team as a whole, Jamera Jones led with nine kills. Lady Tiger Farris Howard had seven. Lady Tiger Cadrian Dennis led with eight digs. Lady Tiger Abigail Bierbaum had six. Bierbaum led with four service aces. 

Westbrook said, “I think that the way that they played in the first two sets of tonight were finally what we’ve been looking for: for them to come together and for them to battle together. I think they were finally able to do that and see the rewards of all the work that we’ve put in.”

The Lady Tigers next will play at Crittenden County at 6 p.m. on Thursday night. At the same time, Calloway will be hosting Fulton City.

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