Thompson wins on Senior Night and Teacher Appreciation Night

Published 4:34 pm Friday, October 6, 2023

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – The Thompson Warriors took time to honor the people who shaped their team while regaining their momentum ahead of the area tournament, as the Warriors took back-to-back wins over Jasper on Wednesday, Oct. 4 and Sparkman on Thursday, Oct. 5.

Both wins were in response to Thompson’s four-set loss to Oak Mountain on the road on Tuesday, Oct. 3, and Warriors coach Judy Green was proud of how the team bounced back from defeat.

“I loved how our team responded after Tuesday night,” Green said. “We talk a lot about how we respond to adversity. It’s a big positive to see us rebound the way we did.”

The wins meant even more to the Warriors because they came on special nights. Thompson’s match against Sparkman was the team’s Senior Night, and the Warriors honored their 10 upcoming graduates following a 3-0 sweep win.

“I was very happy that we were able to send our seniors out on such a high note on Senior Day,” Green said. “All of them have been so important in the success of our team.”

The night before, the Warriors recognized the teachers who supported and impacted them throughout Alabaster City Schools on Teacher Appreciation Night. The players honored Thompson teachers with a special presentation during their match against Jasper.

When the Warriors took the floor against the Jasper Vikings, they were powered to a win thanks to a strong service game and defense. Thompson won a season-high 17 aces, and the Warriors also earned 57 digs as they recorded 16 digs per set.

The Warriors opened the match strong as they established control with a great performance in the first set. Thompson took the first set, 25-18, and that set the tone for the rest of the match to come.

The Warriors kept the momentum rolling in the second set, and they won the frame by an identical score of 25-18.

Needing just one more set win to close out the match, Thompson rode its strong performances from players all around the court to win a third straight set by the score of 25-18 and seal the 3-0 sweep.

Sara Grace Smith earned a career-high 15 digs in the match, and she was joined on the defense by setter Olivia Kelly, who earned 13 digs and 37 assists to finish with a double-double.

Chloe Mittelstadt led the Warriors in kills with 16 en route to hitting +.429, and Hannah Drexel hit for +.500 while earning a season-high 10 kills.

The next night, Thompson sent its senior class out with a dominant win over the Sparkman Senators. The Warriors came out firing as they took a 25-13 win in the opening set.

Thompson opened up another wide lead over Sparkman in the second set as the Warriors cruised to a commanding 2-0 lead in the match. Thompson won the set, 25-14, which put all of the pressure on the Senators ahead of the third set.

The Warriors finished off the match win in strong style with a 25-12 third set win to take the match, 3-0.

Thompson hit for +.306 in another solid offensive performance, including three of the Warriors’ seniors on their Senior Night. Chloe Mittelstadt had 11 kills, Ella Southern won nine kills and Anne Shelby earned five kills.

The Warriors won 11 aces during the match, including a season-high five aces from Bradli Davis. Green was proud of the progress her team made on the line throughout the week.

“Our serving was a problem for both teams we faced, so I love seeing our growth on the service line,” Green said.

Thompson also had another great defensive match as the Warriors racked up 44 digs, with 14 coming from Kenzly Foote. The Warriors’ defense has carried them to big wins throughout the season, and Green believed that was the key to victory once again against both Jasper and Sparkman.

“Our bread and butter is our defensive tenacity and our determination to keep that relentless mindset in long rallies,” Green said. “We accomplished that in back-to-back matches.”

After completing a stretch of three games in three days, Thompson will have back-to-back matches next week. The Warriors will first travel to Hewitt-Trussville on Tuesday, Oct. 10 and then face Arab in their final home match of the regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 11.