It's not even halfway through the Smyrna High School volleyball season but the team has already reached a milestone for the program and played in what could've been the match for the 2013 conference championship.
On Sept. 19, the Lady Eagles defeated CR 3-2, marking the volleyball team's first victory over CR in the nine-year history of Smyrna's program. One week later, the Eagles dropped their match against Polytech 3-2; the game could've solidified Smyrna's chance to win the conference.
The Eagles are 3-3 thus far in the season.
Program continues to grow
Beating CR for the first time in the history of the Smyrna volleyball program proved to be quite the accomplishment for the girls on the team, especially the seniors.
The win didn't come easy though. Smyrna won the first game 25-22, dropped the second two games 22-25 and 25-27 before taking the fourth game 25-11 and the tiebreaker 15-12.
Morgan Popovich said the win was amazing and the team put up a fight.
Senior Hannah Boyles said that even if the team had one bad point, the girls lifted themselves up.
"We didn't let it get to our heads," senior Mackenzie Thompson said. "We wanted to win."
Head coach Danny Wandless said the girls refused to quit and played hard in the match.
"Since I've been here, CR has been dominant [in the conference]," Wandless said. "To beat CR tells me the program is still going in the right direction."
Dropping a heartbreaker to Polytech
Smyrna faced Polytech Thursday and lost in a fifth-game tiebreaker (25-27, 27-25, 16-25, 25-18, 7-15).
Wandless said offensively Smyrna was the better team but Polytech found some holes defensively that ultimately assisted the Panthers in their win.
"I thought the conference championship was in our hands. We could've controlled the conference but not after [Thursday] night," Wandless said. "We just need to go out, win and let the chips falls as they may."
To win from here on out, Wandless said the players need to be determined and want to win.
"I want a record of 12-3 at the end of the season. That's what I expect out of the girls," Wandless said.
Raven Luckett said she's looking forward to the rest of the year. She said this could be her last time playing volleyball so it's exciting and sad at the same time.
For the seniors, they want to make the season a senior year to remember, Thompson said.
JV player breaks record
One highlight in the matches again Polytech Thursday came from the junior varsity team's 2-0 win (25-23, 25-8) over Polytech.
Freshman Ashley Hurd surpassed the Smyrna school record of 18 serves in a row with 21 straight serves.
Hurd said she didn't know about the record beforehand; she simply focused on one point at a time and did her job.
"At first it was overwhelming and really exciting."
JV coach Lindsay Lewis knew about the record in advance but chose to not tell Hurd until after the fact. Lewis said 11 of Hurd's 21 serves were aces.
"I feel blessed and grateful for my coaches and past coaches who put in hard work training me," Hurd said.
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.