Thompson wins 5-set thriller over Vestavia to remain perfect in area play

Published 2:23 pm Friday, September 22, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

VESTAVIA HILLS – The Thompson Warriors and Vestavia Hills Rebels battled throughout their pivotal area play matchup on Thursday, Sept. 21, but in the end, Thompson’s play in the fifth set made the difference.

The Warriors won five of the final six points in the fifth set to take the match over the Rebels, 3-2, to improve to 2-0 in area play.

“We had great execution down the stretch,” Thompson coach Judy Green said. “Our defensive effort was outstanding both from a serving and blocking standpoint, and our back court was elite last night.”

Thompson and Vestavia were in a war from the opening set, as the two teams were close as the final points drew near. Thompson finished the set well and took the first set, 25-21, to go up 1-0 in the match.

From there, the Warriors used the victory in their opening set win to power themselves to a lead in the second set, even though the set was as close as the first frame.

However, Thompson still came out on top in the second set, 25-20, to extend its lead to 2-0 and put Vestavia’s back against the wall going into the third set.

Even though the Rebels were down to their final chance to win a set to extend the match, they came out firing and forced Thompson into its tightest set of the match so far. Thompson was close to securing the sweep, but the two teams went into extra points to decide a winner.

Then, Vestavia took both extra points to secure the third set, 26-24, and send the match to a fourth set.

With all of the momentum in Vestavia’s favor, the Rebels got out to a lead and eventually secured the largest margin of victory for either team in the match.

Vestavia won the fourth set, 25-18, to force a fifth and final set to decide the match.

In the fifth set, Thompson worked to a slight 10-9 lead, but from there, the Warriors effort in the final points swung the match in their favor.

Thompson took five of the final six points to win the fifth set, 15-10, and earn a 3-2 win in a hard-fought match on the road.

The Warriors shined on the defensive end of the court as two Thompson players set new career-highs for digs. Abby Faith Campbell secured 33 digs, and Sara Grace Smith earned 12 digs to give themselves new high-water marks for their Warriors careers.

Kenzly Foote also had 21 digs and Chloe Mittelstadt earned 14 digs to round out a season-high 101 digs for the Warriors.

Mittelstadt led the Warriors offense in kills with 17 and earned a +.177 hitting percentage. Ella Southern was close behind her with 11 kills and hit for +.206, while Hannah Drexel earned nine kills as Thompson outhit Vestavia +.139 to +.128.

Olivia Kelly racked up 46 assists from the setter spot, and Thompson also earned a season-high 10 total blocks in the win.

Thompson will face Briarwood, Guntersville, Baldwin County and Siegal in the HeffStrong Tournament in Hoover on Sept. 21-22 ahead of its area finale against Hoover on Wednesday, Sept. 27. If the Warriors beat the Bucs, they will host the area tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 17.