The Super Bowl, the World Series, Test/Dennis volleyball… it doesn’t get any bigger than this. The fans were excited, the players were nervous and the Tiernan Center was rockin’. For the coaches, a bittersweet opportunity was about to unfold. The coaching staffs have worked together throughout the last year to improve the quality of Richmond volleyball. Off season training, club ball and open gyms has given both staffs the opportunity to interact with and train players from both programs. Tonight…They were opponents in a game that no one wanted to lose.
The Test celebrities turned out in force to support their beloved Tigers. The star studded spectators included a mélange of staff and faculty. Beloved Katy Belanga was courtside encouraging her favorite felines. Calm, cool and always collected Test basketball coach Nick Kovach made an appearance. Also taking in the spectacle was Marcus Huber showing his ongoing support. In the background, away from the clamoring paparazzi, stood fashionista Chris Ross, a long time season ticket holder and avid fan. The neutral Hibberd contingent also made their presence known. Richard Shroyer was in the house talking about attack angles and velocity. Jeanne Engle offered her support for both teams and Rachel Etherington made an appearance. She is always ready for anything that is competitive. This was it, the event that everyone was clamoring for, the World Cup of Richmond volleyball…Test versus Dennis (cue ESPN theme) Da, Da, Dunt, Da, Da, Dunt.
As the crosstown rivals took the court, emotional levels were high. Friend versus friend assault through the mesh of a volleyball net was about to play out in front of your eyes. With terms like hit, spike and kill, you knew it was about to get savage. Game one was a series of slow plays followed by a run of points. Ariana Mendoza put nine points on the board for the Cats. Then a lull in the action was quickly followed by seven more from Rylie Kidd. In the end, the Bulldogs weren’t able to withstand the serving prowess demonstrated by the junior Tigers and fell 25-17.
Game two played out in similar fashion. With a new cast of characters, Test renewed their offensive. With Abby Nessesary delivering eight straight to open the game, the Dogs were quickly in trouble. Scoring contributions seemed to come from everyone on the court. Karma Nichols picked up two, Aubree Falcone, three more and Rylie Kidd fired another five across the court. With the resulting final score being 25-13, the 7th grade Tigers’ record moves to 5-1. Next up on their agenda is another Bulldog, this time visiting from Franklin County. Let’s go Tigers!
As the Eighth graders took to the court for the Test/Dennis matchup, there was a feeling of mutual respect and an undeniable drive to win. Playing with and against each other through the entire summer drives a special competitiveness to succeed, especially when your abilities are put on public display. Playing on the main floor in the Tiernan Center doesn’t get any more public. Tigers versus Bulldogs, it was about to go down. The energy level was high, the nervousness noticeable and the fun factor awesome. This was going to be winner take all kind of competition. Both teams wanted to say they were the best program in Richmond.
Game one was a back and forth affair with both teams scoring enough to lead and then giving up enough to relinquish it. Kirsten Urich put five points on the board for the Tigers. Dafne Ruis responded for the Bulldogs with six. It was that kind of game. Back and forth with no one really taking control or gaining momentum. One point swings back and forth with no separation until Paighton Morken came around for her second rotation. She served nine points, put the Tigers in the lead and left the Dogs playing catch up. Try as they might, the point spread was too big to close and Test took the first game 25-23.
The second set of the match saw the return of Kamryn Wright to the lineup and the difference was immediately observable. Her experience and athleticism offered stability to the lineup. The Tiger play was more settled and controlled. Runs of points began to occur. Nine points from the serve of Edyn Curry, three from Kara Mullins, three for Urich and three from Brylynn Quisenberry. The 25-16 ending was exactly what the Tigers were striving for and achieved. This battle with the Bulldogs was a preliminary to next week’s clash with another canine. The Franklin County Bulldogs will be dropping by the Test gymnasium to take on the truculent Tigers. Come out and support your Tigers and enjoy an evening of middle school volleyball.