Thompson reaches championship at River City Classic

Published 8:59 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – The Thompson Warriors continued their strong start of the 2023 season with a run to the championship game of the River City Classic in Memphis on Aug. 25-26.

The Warriors went 6-1 in the tournament and were undefeated going into the championship game against Marion from Arkansas, where they lost in three sets to the champions.

En route to the title game, the Warriors completed an undefeated run through pool play where they took down teams from around the Southeast region and earned the #1 seed going into bracket play.

Thompson started their journey on Friday, where they jumped out to an early one set lead over Stewart’s Creek from Tennessee and then finished the job for a straight sets victory.

Then, to close out the day, the Warriors took down the St. Mary’s Turkeys in similar fashion by earning the win in straight sets. Thompson would close out the day with a 2-0 record and position themselves well going into the second and final day of the tournament on Saturday.

The next morning, the Warriors opened their Saturday with a match against Lake Cormorant from Mississippi. Thompson would start strong with a first set victory before they repeated the feat in the second set to take the match.

For their final game in pool play, Thompson took on Newbern, Tennessee’s Dyer County. The Warriors took down the Choctaws in the first set, and Thompson would go on to sweep the match.

The win secured the #1 seed for the Warriors and gave them a bye from the first round of bracket play, where they awaited the winner of St. Mary’s and Lake Cormorant.

After St. Mary’s took the first-round game, they advanced to play Thompson. Just like in their pool play meeting, the Warriors came out on top against the Turkeys and continued their streak of straight set victories to advance to the semifinals.

Awaiting them in the semifinals was in-state foe Hazel Green, and the Trojans gave the Warriors their hardest test yet. Thompson dropped their first set of the weekend in the match, but they recovered to beat Hazel Green in three sets and advance to the championship match.

In the title game, Thompson battled with Marion until the end. The Warriors and Patriots traded blows with a set victory each, forcing a third and decisive set for the championship. Unfortunately for Thompson, they fell short in the third set, but they still walked away from Memphis with a runner-up finish and six victories in two days.

Chloe Mittelstadt led the way for the offense with 80 kills, 14 service aces and a .344 hitting percentage across the seven games while also recording 41 digs.

Senior setter Olivia Kelly was one of the key parts of the offense thanks to her 163 assists, which helped Thompson record a .278 hitting percentage during the tournament.

Kenzly Foote had strong performances on both the offensive and defensive ends, as she earned a 2.10 passing average, 10 service aces and had a team-leading 81 digs.

Annie Shelby also had a solid weekend at the middle blocker spot, recording 15 total blocks to start out her senior season.

The Warriors improved to 7-1 after the weekend, and they will return home on Tuesday, Aug. 29 to host a tri-match against Briarwood and Montgomery Academy. The Warriors will take on Briarwood first at 5:30 p.m. before facing Montgomery Academy to close out the day at 6:30.