Thompson falls to Hoover in battle of top-6 area teams

Published 12:37 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018

By SETH HAGAN | For the Reporter

HOOVER – Thompson knew it would be a tough night on the road, especially with the No. 3 Hoover Buccaneers playing host.

While they were taking on a top-5 team, this Warriors team has had a strong season and sitting at No. 6 was not a team Hoover wanted to play either having already played several top-10 matches this season and won their fair share in 2018.

But another top-10 was not to be for Thompson on Tuesday night, Sept. 18, as the Bucs (17-4, 1-0) stayed sharp the entire match and swept their Area 5 foe in straight sets 25-16, 25-20, 25-20.

Unforced errors plagued the night for the Warriors and it was never more apparent than in the first set. Down 7-2 in the early going, four straight errors sparked a 9-2 run for Hoover who jumped out to an insurmountable 16-4 advantage.

The players found it hard to get into their sets as Hoover’s hard hits made digging difficult. Thompson outscored the Bucs the rest of the set, but couldn’t close the margin beyond eight as Hoover’s front line powered home 10 kills and two blocks.

Eager to even the score, the Warriors jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the second set taking advantage of some errors on Hoover’s side. But that was short lived as the Bucs regained control after reeling off an 11-0 run featuring six kills.

Thompson struggled to regain momentum as another streak of four consecutive errors left them in a 20-10 hole. However, the Warriors had one last run and scored nine of the next 10 points to draw within two of Hoover. Another string of errors, however, gave the Bucs what they needed to close out the set.

The final set volleyed back and forth with six ties and four lead changes in the first 22 points. Down 11-10, Hoover’s strength and height took over again as outside hitter Rya McKinnon sent four kills and a block over the net to key a 7-2 run for the Bucs.

The Warriors also committed six service errors in the set, including four late that kept any chance of a comeback at bay. Thompson was unable to get any closer than four points the rest of the way.

McKinnon led the Buccaneers with 12 kills, four blocks and three digs, while Gabbi Essix added nine kills and two blocks.

Kolbi Reed was steady for the Warriors with 7 kills, while Molly Willis chipping in five kills and two blocks.

The Warriors (8-4, 0-1) will stay on the road for their next match as the travel to non-area opponent Hewitt-Trussville on Monday, Sept. 24.