Thu, Sep. 27, 2012 - [Volleyball]
Article Courtesy of Vanessa Curry, Tyler Morning Telegraph
The Apache Ladies didn't have a choice Wednesday night. They had to win.
Otherwise they would have had nothing to give their coach for her birthday - except a song.
The fact that they blanked the Panola College Fillies 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-18) was just icing on the cake.
But it wasn't easy, especially in a rousing second game that had both coaches jumping up and down and the crowd of nearly 700 practically going hoarse.
It was a defining moment for the young Tyler Junior College team, too.
"I don't think they got rattled at all when the other team began pushing back," coach Ronda Shirley said. "I didn't see it (being shaken) in their eyes like I did in the beginning of the season. They have more confidence."
TJC put away Panola handily in the first match, but struggled to maintain a healthy lead in the second.
The Fillies limped along until a time-out talk with their coach, Nicole Thorn, appeared to light a fire under their feet. They managed to come within one point, before Shirley had to call a time out to challenge her players.
The Apache Ladies climbed back into the saddle and held off a late surge to take the win.
Panola kept knocking at the door during Game 3, but TJC answered by maintaining control offensively to keep them at bay. During one rout, right side hitter Isabelle Krahl had two consecutive kills followed by a kill from teammate Ivana Bulajic.
Thorn said her team just couldn't "get it together."
"They (Apache Ladies) made the key plays and that's the reason they won," she said.
With the win TJC remains undefeated in conference play 4-0 and 17-2 overall. The Fillies are 1-1 in conference play and 11-8 overall.
TJC STAT LEADERS: A.Amaro: 41 assists, one block, eight digs; H. Robey: 11 digs; I. Krahl: 10 kills, two blocks and one ace serve; J. McArdle: seven kills; L. Jones: 11 kills, two blocks, one ace serve, 16 digs; J. Santos: 12 kills, two blocks, 11 digs.
SMOKE SIGNALS: Members of the Apache Ladies volleyball team lead the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Coach Shirley after the game. Shirley's birthday is actually Thursday.