Thompson reaches title game of South of Town Showdown
Published 2:37 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023
By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor
ALABASTER – Thompson played host to teams from around the Southeast at the South of Town Showdown on Saturday, Sept. 9, and they made an impressive run to the title game on their home floor while taking down multiple in-state opponents.
The Warriors did not drop a set in each of their five match victories en route to the title game, which they lost to Georgia’s Jefferson.
In their opening match, Thompson faced Florence to start out the morning. The Warriors took the opening set to get off on the right foot in the match.
Thompson would go on to win the second set to take the match in a straight sets win, and that effort would set the table for a dominant day to come.
The Warriors then took on Sipsey Valley as they sought back-to-back match wins. Thompson again used an opening set win to power them forward to a match win as they swept the match, 2-0.
Thompson kept the momentum going against Mortimer Jordan in their next match. The Warriors looked to close out pool play with a perfect 3-0 record, and they did so without dropping a set.
After winning the first set, Thompson closed out pool play with a second set victory to earn their third consecutive straight-set victory.
Thompson moved on to the knockout round with all of the positive momentum flowing in their favor. Now, the Warriors stood just three wins away from winning a trophy at their home tournament.
The Warriors faced DAR in the quarterfinals after both teams entered with solid showings so far, as DAR had beaten Oak Mountain earlier in pool play.
Thompson was able to keep rolling with a first set victory to set them up for success in the match. They earned the match win thanks to a second set victory to move on to the next round.
In the semifinals, the Warriors took the fight to Hazel Green in their bid to reach the championship game. Thompson once again jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, which they used to control the match for a sweep win after the second set.
Chloe Mittelstadt powered the Warriors to a win in the semifinals thanks to a 12-kill performance with no errors as she finished the match with a +.545 hitting percentage.
After winning five straight matches and going unbeaten in their last 12 sets, Thompson faced their toughest test yet in the Jefferson Dragons out of Georgia.
The Warriors dropped the opening set as the Dragons put Thompson in an unfamiliar situation of having to win the second and third set to take the match.
Unfortunately for Thompson, they were unable to recover in the second set, and the Warriors fell in the championship game to Jefferson, 2-0.
Even though they lost in the championship game, Thompson took down five in-state opponents throughout the day on Saturday as they prepared themselves for a crucial stretch of the season. Thanks to the 5-1 record at the tournament, the Warriors improved to 15-4 on the year.
Thompson as a team hit for .204 in the South of Town Showdown. The Warriors also succeeded on the defensive end of the court, earning 1.8 blocks per set and a season-high 17.33 digs per set off of 22 total blocks and 208 digs.
Mittelstadt was the Warriors’ kill leader with 45, and she also hit for +.304, earned 12 blocks and won eight aces. Ella Southern was another solid contributor with 29 kills off a +.234 hitting percentage.
Over on defense, Kenzly Foote led Thompson with 52 digs, which broke down to 4.33 digs per set.
Setter Olivia Kelly racked up 82 assists during the tournament, and Sara Grace Smith was dominant from the service line, scoring a career-high 12 aces to lead the Warriors in the category.
The Warriors will next face Homewood on the road on Tuesday, Sept. 12 ahead of the start of area play on Thursday, Sept. 14.