By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Wendy Porter walked into the Bolton Gymnasium Aug. 20 unbeaten as the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels head coach.
And when the volleyball match against the host Bolton Wildcats was done, Porter officially became undefeated as a TRA coach. In her first game in charge of the Lady Rebels, Porter guided her squad to a 25-18, 25-17 and 25-14 victory.
“It feels good, I was really nervous coming into today,” Porter acknowledged. ” It’s good to walk away with that win and start off the season on top.”
TRA’s season opening win was started and ended in similar fashion. Kendall Seering helped the Lady Rebels jumped out 6-0 in the first set with four aces in a row.
After Lady Rebel Asante Lopez slammed own a spike to make the tally 6-0, the Lady Wildcats finally broke serve. Behind the serving of Hannah Word, Bolton trimmed the deficit to 8-5.
The Lady Rebels managed to build their advantage back to 17-11 late in the opening set. Then Lady Wildcats Word and Rebecca Bond attacked the net to make the score 19-15 in favor of TRA.
Word scored on a kill and Bond had a block. But that wasn’t enough to prevent the Lady Rebels from winning. TRA withstood Bolton’s late rally behind the play of Lopez to win by 7 points.
The second set began with Lady Wildcat Dnada Smith giving her squad an early 3-1 lead with a tip and ace.
Then TRA’s Bethany Berger sparked a run for her team with a dink. The
Lady Rebels outscored Bolton 15-3 over that stretch to take a 15-6 lead.
Lopez scored three points in a row with two powerful spikes and a tip sandwiched between.
TRA’s comfortable lead came in handy with Bolton rallying to make the score 22-17 behind the play of Rachel Blevins. Her height caused Lady Rebel miscues at the net and Blevins got a kill on the board.
But 17 points were all the Lady Wildcats could muster in the second set before going down 2-0 in sets.
The third set belonged to the Lady Rebels from start to finish. Seering got her team out big with 9 serves. Trailing 9-0, Bolton went on a run to make the score 10-7. But behind the athleticism of Lopez, the Lady Rebels made the score 18-8.
Ahead 18-14, Seering had control of the serve one more time. She scored six aces including four in a row. Lopez concluded festivities with a kill to give TRA the set 25-14 and the overall victory.
Happy her team won her first game as TRA coach, Porter acknowledged some spots of the contest could have been better for her team.
“We need to work on serves,” she acknowledged. “I thought we could have done better. We missed way too many for us. So hopefully that will improve by tomorrow.
“Serve and receive, if we get a bad serve and receive or two, we seem to get in a rutt,” Porter added. “Most teams do that. And we can’t get in a habit of if the game is closer. We’re lucky we kept the lead.”
Porter said the team played well overall and two underclassmen sparked big rallies for the club.
“Kendall definitely is a fantastic server,” she said. “She got us a lot of points on the board for us. We have to have that from everybody. And Asante is one of our go-to girls. If she was putting it down, they couldn’t stop her.”
With her first game in the books, Porter said it’s time to keep improving. But she does like hearing people say, ‘Congratulation Coach, you’re still unbeaten.’
“It sounds good,” she concluded. “I hope it continues.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.