MURFREESBORO – When volleyball teams warm up before a match, the teams share the court for a while before one squad gets the whole court and works on net play.
Murfreesboro Central, Covington’s first round state tournament opponent Tuesday afternoon at Blackman High School, had several tall players who were making some impressive-looking kills as Covington looked on from the bench.
If they were intimidated, which Covington head coach Molly Glass insists they weren’t, it didn’t show in the first set.
Covington led by as many as four points in the first set and looked like a team that could win its first state tournament match.
During one particularly exciting point, Ana Gover chased down a ball near the bleachers to give Covington a 15-11 lead.
The Lady Chargers, in the state tournament for the first time in 19 years, led 20-17 in that first set and it was tied 23-23 before Central pulled it out 25-23.
From there it was all Central, which won the next two sets 25-9 and 25-12 to remain in the winners’ bracket.
“I thought we were kind of nervous, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle if we had a little more experience,” Gover said “We’ve never played in front of this kind of crowd or this gym. There’s a lot of stuff that went into it. It kind of fell apart … I feel like a few players got down (in the second set) and once they got down it was hard to get them back up.”
“I expected them to be nervous coming in,” Glass said. “I don’t know if those nerves turned into positive energy or what. I thought that first set we looked as good as we have. I was proud of them that first set. I think they let it get in their heads a little bit that second set. We fell apart. We’re going to go back and watch the game when we get in the hotel room and try and cover up some holes.”
Meredith Page, a 6-1 Central senior, had multiple kills during the second two sets. She was one of the players who looked impressive during warmups.
“We’ve seen it,” Glass said. “Teams we’ve played have some hitters. No, I don’t think it (intimidation) was that. They were just trying to analyze what they were doing. I don’t think intimidated is the right word. It wasn’t that.”
Concerning intimidation, Covington junior Charleigh Cole said, “It was a little bit, but we’ve played teams like this before. The first set we played them well. We have the potential but I guess we don’t have the experience. Hopefully we’ll come back better tomorrow.”
Covington will be looking to stay alive in the tournament Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. against Greeneville at Blackman High School.