In front of a raucous crowd at Bill Harris Arena, Viking Volleyball played what could have been the most memorable match in the history of high school volleyball.
After defeating Helena(22-25, 25-13, 25-9, 25-18) and Spanish Fort (25-18, 25-21, 25-15) on Wednesday to advance to the 6A State Championship Game, Coach Daniels and his group of unyielding women posed one of the most improbable comebacks that anyone could ever imagine Thursday morning. The Vikes found themselves down 2-0 in the 3rd set best of five match, and Pelham found themselves with a big lead in the 3rd set. For those of you who do not follow volleyball, The Vikes were on life support, and the priest had been called in to perform the last rites sacrament.
They say that teams take on the personality of their coach. To say that, would be an understatement about this team. As I looked cross court, it was as if Coach Daniels set his jaw, and was determined that his team would not go without a fight- not that day- not on that stage. He calls timeout, and in what seemed like a World War air raid, the Vikes come storming back with a barrage of points that left the Pelham team stunned and the green and white student section shocked.
The Vikes went on to take the fourth set after trailing 15-7. The improbable comeback saw the Panthers at championship point twice in that set. A kill sent us to the fifth and deciding set, and sent the crowd into a frenzy. By this time, the entire arena was close to filling as McGill and Bob Jones fans were seated ready for the 7A Championship Game. I have been to sporting events of every major professional and collegiate sport, and I have never felt an environment that electric.
The fifth set was the most entertaining set of the match. The Vikings struck first in a match that was dominated by runs by both teams, getting out 4-0 on the Panthers. Pelham took a timeout and responded with their own run to keep the Vikes within reach. A 12-10 Viking lead saw the Panthers take another timeout. The match then saw both teams within championship point. A total of six human emotions are all that our body can produce (sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, and surprise). This match produced every single emotion within me in the span of two hours time in a 17-15 Pelham Championship. The most heartbreaking thing to handle about this match was that it had to come to an end.
Two teams played as hard as teams could possibly play. The game went extras in the fifth set, and every single person in attendance felt cheated because the match had to end. We would have stayed there for two more hours to watch those two teams continue playing. I guess every match has to end somewhere, and the 6A State Volleyball Championship ended yesterday at 11:57, with the Vikings hoisting the red State Runner-Up trophy in the air. In a season that saw an Area 11 Championship, our school’s first North Super Regional Championship, and a 56-5 record, I would say this in reality is not an end for us- its merely the beginning.
An amazing team effort had some fantastic individual performance for the Vikes. We had four girls with 12 or more kills with McKinley Ferguson carding 18, Tameyah Griffin and Morgan McClendon both totaling 13 each, and Alex Oliver adding 12. Ferguson and Khloe Kimbrell had 29 and 25 assists, and Temperance Chatman played a great match with 30 digs and four ace serves.
Junior Tameyah Griffin and Sophomore McKinley Ferguson were named to the 6A All-State Tournament Team. They were joined on the team by Sarah Guthrie (Pelham), Georgia Stonicher, (Pelham), Shyan Flack (Brewer) and Emorie Long (Pelham) the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.