Thompson volleyball splits opening-night tri-match

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – There was no easing into the season for the Class 7A No. 6 Thompson Warriors volleyball team, who opened the season inside Warrior Arena on Thursday, Aug. 22, with matchups against fellow 7A opponent Hewitt-Trussville and Class 6A No. 1 ranked Spanish Fort.

The start to the tri-match couldn’t have been any better for the Warriors with a 2-0 (25-6, 25-9) victory over the Huskies, but it was a 2-1 loss to Spanish Fort in the second match that showed the biggest step forward for the Warriors.

After losing the first set 25-16 and never leading, the Warriors bounced back for a 25-15 win in the second set, leading the entire way aside from two ties.

That led to a thrilling and decisive third set between the two highly ranked teams.

Thompson got off to a strong start behind the serve of Kolbi Reed and eventually earned a 10-4 advantage. The Toros quickly answered back with a 6-1 run to cut the deficit to 11-10.

After going up 12-10, the Warriors allowed three consecutive points, which pulled Spanish Fort in front by a point. The two eventually became even at 13-13, but the Toros gained match point shortly after.

The Warriors, however, proved they weren’t scared of the big moment early in the season against arguably the best team of any classification in the state.

They went on to stave off three consecutive match points, which led to a 16-16 tie, and then saw the Warriors grab a match point of their own at 17-16.

Unfortunately for Thompson, the Toros came back and took an 18-17 lead and the Warriors’ luck ran out as Spanish Fort closed out its fourth match point for a 19-17 set victory.

With the loss, Thompson fell to 1-1 on the night and the season. But with Spanish Fort being one of the tallest and most athletic teams in the state, the Warriors proved on night one they have the defense and team that can compete with the best teams in the state this year

Thompson 2, Hewitt-Trussville 0

While the loss to the Toros did sting, the Warriors couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season thanks to a 2-0 (25-6, 25-9) victory against Hewitt-Trussville.

Early in the first set, Thompson jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back from there thanks to solid defense and great control of serve.

After dropping their first point of the set to make it 5-1, the Warriors bounced back behind the serve of libero Kinsleigh Sabo, who won seven consecutive points on serve to put her team on top 12-1.

The Huskies won the next point to make it 12-2, but never won consecutive points in the set with Thompson continuing to bounce back from every point it lost. 

Thompson eventually went on to take a 19-3 lead, and while Hewitt-Trussville won three of the next seven points, it wasn’t enough to create a late momentum spark, as the Warriors pulled away to take the first set 25-6.

Hewitt came out with a much more competitive effort to start the second set and won consecutive points for the first time in the match, but Thompson was still able to take an early advantage of 5-3.

After the Warriors extended the lead to 10-4 with a 5-1 run, the set became much more competitive over the next few points.

Following a Huskies’ timeout, they came out and put together a strong run to cut the deficit to four points at 12-8, but that’s when Thompson’s defense really showed up.

After extending the lead to 15-8, the Warriors won two long rallies in a row that saw great digs and defense lead to extended chances for them to win each point, which they did to take a 17-8 advantage.

From that point, Hewitt-Trussville was unable to overcome Thompson’s momentum boost, as the Warriors only gave up one more point on their way to a 25-9 set victory to close out the match and start the season 1-0.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.