“I couldn’t ask for better. They’re easy, one of the easiest groups I’ve ever coached as far as their chemistry and their desire. They wanted to learn all the time and were never satisfied. As a coach you can’t ask for more than that."
It was a historic year for Tompkins.
Through it, the Falcons had an undefeated district season, a first regional tournament and a first state appearance.
The Falcons continued to make history, making it to the state final game for the first time in school history, with the only thing standing between them and a championship being Dripping Springs.
But the Falcons were unable to sustain their run against Dripping Springs, as they fell in three sets to the Tigers, 26-24, 25-15, 25-19.
But win or lose, the Falcons were winners this season, and even after a season ending loss, Tompkins kept their heads high and remembered how special this run was.
“I’m just so proud of these girls and the history they made,” said Tompkins head coach Allison Merrell. “From here on out, every Tompkins team can look to these girls as their role models and what they can strive to. I can’t thank them enough for taking our program to that level, we wanted it to go another way tonight, but we didn’t and that’s ok, we’re going to relish in what we did and getting to this point.”
It was a battle against Dripping Springs and Tompkins gave everything they had for all three sets. The Falcons fought to extra points in the first set and nearly pulled it out, but could never get back in a rhythm after that.
“They just have some phenomenal players,” Merrell said. “We knew that they had some great players, but we also thought we matched up well with them. We run the same kind of scheme, but we just got outmatched. But we’re at state, this kind of competition is all you can ask for.”
Tompkins tried to stay in it in the second set, but Dripping Springs continued to pull away to go up two sets to zero. Tompkins battled to within three points multiple times in the third set, but a late rally by the Tigers secured the sweep and ended the Falcons season.
“This experience was amazing and I’m just happy we got to play as long as we did,” said senior outside hitter Tendai Titley. “I know we lost but I enjoyed every second of this and I love this team. It was a really great experience and I’m so happy we got here.”
Throughout the year, the commitment of the team and the senior leadership showed in the program, and for Merrell, who has been with Tompkins since the school opened, it was a very special group.
“I couldn’t ask for better,” Merrell said. “They’re easy, one of the easiest groups I’ve ever coached as far as their chemistry and their desire. They wanted to learn all the time and were never satisfied. As a coach you can’t ask for more than that and the fact that they’re so fun makes it easy. It’s been a joy to coach them all season.”
The seniors in the program helped propel the team to new heights and at the same time took the younger players under their wings, something that will be felt in future years.
“The seniors were just amazing,” said Brooklynn Merrell, a sophomore libero. “They helped us through everything, all the freshman and sophomores. Anytime we were nervous they were there, anytime we needed anything they were there. We had a lot of new sophomores and freshman and they helped us a lot.”
The Falcons have big shoes to fill next season, with a number of key players graduating, but the impact of this team will be felt and Merrell hopes will lead to another team getting back to this point.
“We know what we need to do,” Merrell said. “You have to have a determination and drive to get here and we know that. The works these kids have put in is unmatched, and they’ve set the bar so high.
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