Warriors season ends in Elite Eight

Published 10:38 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thompson’s Tara Miller leaps for a block in the Lady Warriors’ 3-0 loss to Huntsville in the Class 6A quarterfinals on Oct. 31. (Reporter photo/Mickel Ponthieux)

By GRAHAM CARR / Staff Writer

BIRMINGHAM – The Thompson Warriors were no match for defending state champion Huntsville High School falling 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-21) in the quarterfinals of the state volleyball championship.

“As I kind of figured with a young team, I thought we would come out a little slow from being just a little nervous, but the girls did a great job finally calming down and regrouping,” Thompson coach Kellyanne Gandy said.

Kelsea Bivins led the Warriors with 13 kills, five digs and a block. Taylin McCarver added four kills. Tara Miller chipped in 25 assists.

The set started with the Warriors holding their own against the second-ranked Panthers until Huntsville broke open a 15-11 score by finishing the set on a 10-2 run.

In the second set, Thompson jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but Huntsville battled back to tie the score at 6.  Huntsville took the lead at 8-7 and extended it with a 7-3 run to take a comfortable 15-10 lead.  Thompson closed the gap to 15-12, but did not get any closer as Huntsville extended its lead to 20-12 and held on to win 25-17.

In the final set, Thompson again led early on with a 7-3 lead and held a 17-12 lead just over the halfway point of the set.  Unfortunately for the Warriors, Huntsville stole the set closing on a 13-4 run to win.

“I was very excited how well we played them, especially in the third game,” Gandy said.  “I was hoping we could finish it off, but we let them come back and take it, but to be so young, I am really excited about the future.”

Gandy said she was proud of what her team accomplished this season

“It exceeds my expectations and I had great expectations for them, but they worked harder than I ever thought they would work,” Gandy said. “They played harder than I ever thought they would play and they are just a great group of girls.”