“It was just such a gritty performance from every single one of the girls,” “There was so much resilience and so much fight and I’m so proud of them for that. They didn’t give up, didn’t give in and it went our way in the end. The fight just took over at the end and I’m so proud of them.”
Tompkins had to stare into something they hadn’t faced before on Friday.
The Falcons were front and center on the Texas high school volleyball stage, playing for a chance to make to the state final against an opponent that had been on this stage before in Keller.
On top of that, Tompkins fell behind for the first time all playoffs, needing to win two sets straight to keep their season alive.
But the Falcons confidence never wavered, no matter the moment or pressure. Tompkins knew exactly what they had to do, they dug deep and they reeled off two straight sets to top Keller in five sets, 26-24, 17-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-11, as the Falcons advanced to the state final for the first time in school history.
“It was just such a gritty performance from every single one of the girls,” said Tomkins head coach Allison Merrell. “There was so much resilience and so much fight and I’m so proud of them for that. They didn’t give up, didn’t give in and it went our way in the end. The fight just took over at the end and I’m so proud of them.”
Things started well for Tompkins, as the Falcons jumped out to a lead in the first set. But things went back and forth and eventually it came down to just one point, as the Falcons took the first set 26-24 to gain a crucial advantage.
“I don’t think these girls have ever been intimidated out on the floor,” Merrell said. “It doesn’t matter if we haven’t been here or what situation we get in, they are confident and they’re going to give their all every single time they touch the floor, and it just went our way at the end.”
But Keller responded as soon as they went down, building a big lead in the second set to tie things and then surviving a Tompkins comeback attempt in the third set, as the Falcons fell behind.
Keller again took an early lead in the fourth set, but Tompkins finally settled into its groove and answered by reeling off a strong comeback and taking a close fourth set.
And the Falcons finally took an early lead in the fifth set, taking the advantage and never letting it go as they worked towards the five set victory.
“We knew going into the fifth set that we needed to take a breath and calm ourselves because we knew that was it,” said senior outside hitter Tendai Titley. “We just went out there and left it all on the court and it got us the win.”
The Falcons said coming into this week that they weren’t done yet, and they proved that with the come from behind win.
“We actually said that before the fifth set, “Merrell said. “I looked at them before that last set and told them, ‘you’re not done yet’. We talk all the time about starting strong because we hadn’t been doing that, and they just took it by five points the whole way, they went out and led at five, then at 10 and then got to 15. That was it, they knew that they weren’t done.”
Tompkins will play the winner of the Woodlands and Dripping Springs Saturday at 5, and the Falcons are determined to get one more win.
“We just trust each other,” said sophomore libero Brooklynn Merrell. “I know the person next to me can do it and I know that I can do it. That’s all we need, we did that tonight and we have to do that tomorrow.”