Thompson’s season ends after impressive 2017 campaign
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
HOOVER – Thompson’s impressive 2017 volleyball season came down to a matchup with the Vestavia Rebels on Tuesday, Oct. 24, as the two teams squared off in the semifinals of the area tournament with the winner advancing to the area championship and super regionals, and the loser’s season coming to an end.
The Warriors ended up laying it all on the line, but in the end they fell 3-1 (25-22, 24-9, 22-25, 25-17) to the Rebels as their season came to an end one game short of a super-regional berth.
After a lot of offseason work was put in by head coach Judy Green and her team to take that next step in the program it wasn’t the finish Thompson wanted, but the improvement and fight shown by the team didn’t go unnoticed this season.
Several players that saw a 12-25 season in 2016 bought into what their coach wanted to do and put in the work this offseason. It led to a winning record of 24-15 in 2017, despite playing in one of the most difficult areas and challenging them with several tournaments, including an out-of-state trek to Kentucky where they fared extremely well.
Thompson started strong in the semifinal match and held the lead early on the first set, before the Rebels were able to snatch the lead away a little over midway through at 16-14.
The teams traded points over the next few rallies, and Thompson eventually grabbed the lead at both 21-20 and 22-21. Vestavia, however, finished out the set strong winning the next four points in a row to take the first set 25-22 and an all-important 1-0 lead in the match.
Vestavia had clearly seized momentum at the end of the first set and took advantage of it as they came out flying in the second set and got off to a 13-3 lead. Dating back to the first set, the Rebels had won 18 of the last 21 points to take control.
The Warriors never recovered in the set as Vestavia went on to win the lopsided affair, 24-9, to take a 2-0 lead and put Thompson on the verge of elimination.
Thompson’s fight showed off in the third set and it led to one of the most compelling sets of the year with several long rallies. The two teams went back and forth early on to a 9-9 tie until the Rebels won three straight points to take a 12-9 lead.
With the Rebels up 14-13, Thompson was able to pick up a point to tie after an extremely long rally, which had the chance to be momentous toward the outcome of the set. The Warriors used it to their advantage by eventually taking a 16-14 lead to cap off a 6-1 run.
Vestavia was able to regain the lead and held it all the way to a 22-21 advantage. Thompson, however, flipped into a new gear with its season on the line and won the final four points of the set to take it 25-22 and trail 2-1 in the match as they had staved off elimination for the time being.
The excitement was short lived though, as the Rebels regained their composure in the fourth set, eventually taking a 19-10 lead. Thompson made a push late, but Vestavia finished things off to take the fourth set 25-17 to win the match 3-1 and end the Warriors’ 2017 campaign.