Decisive first set loss hard to overcome for SenatorsPublished 9:58pm Thursday, September 12, 2013
Morgan Academy jumped on No. 6 Tuscaloosa Academy quickly in Thursday’s volleyball match, with a 17-9 first set lead making it look like the Senators might pull off one of their biggest wins of the year.
The Knights fought back to win the set — which felt like it went on for hours — in a tiebreak 32-30, seizing control of the match and riding that wave of momentum all the way to a 32-30, 25-5, 25-17 victory.
“I kind of figured after the first game of the match, whoever won that game would win the entire match because of momentum,” Morgan Academy head coach Jennifer Moore said.
The first set featured tremendous volleyball. Players from both sides dove to the ground to keep points alive and the ball stayed in play for minutes on many volleys, leaving the small crowd on the edge of its seat during each point.
Eventually, Tuscaloosa Academy pulled it out 32-30, overcoming three consecutive serves into the net while in the lead to give the Senators life.
“The difference in the match was when we came back seven points down [in the first set] and they just carried the momentum,” Tuscaloosa Academy head coach Rachel Roberts said. “In the second game, Morgan got down and we just didn’t let up.”
The Knights didn’t give the Senators a chance to rebound in the second set, ripping off the first 14 points in a decisive win. The final set was a little more competitive, but Tuscaloosa Academy took a 17-9 lead before finishing off the determined Senators 25-17.
Last season, the Senators were state runner ups in AISA Class AA.
On their way to the championship game against Macon East, Morgan ended Tuscaloosa’s season in regionals.
“This is the team that put us out of the state playoffs last year, so we really wanted to play hard for Morgan,” Roberts said. “They are such a great team, a great rival and we always love coming down here.”
Meanwhile, Morgan continues trying to get better as the season progresses so that the Senators can make a run in regionals too.
“It’s better. I’m seeing progress,” Moore said. “I’m telling them that it’s still early in the season and we can still get to where we need to be.”
Moore said her team has taken big steps over the last few weeks, as players who did not see a lot of playing time last season get more comfortable with their changing roles on the team.
“Our defense looks a lot better. I’ve got girls getting on the floor. Serve receive looks a lot better,” Moore said. “Passes may not be getting straight to the setter but we are getting them up and we are playing them back.”
The Senators next game is in the Kingwood Tournament Saturday.