Rebels fall in intense atmosphere

Published 9:12 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Chambers Academy hosted Morgan Academy on Tuesday night, and Morgan came out on top, winning in straight sets. 

It went 25-15, 25-16 and 25-17. The Rebels showed fight in the late stages, but ultimately the deficit was too large. 

“Honestly, it’s too late,” Chambers Academy coach Jessica Patterson said. “It’s too late at that point. We’ve struggled with it the entire season. You’ve got to start from the very beginning like that. I love the fact that they don’t give up, but for me there is a difference in never giving up and deciding, oh we need to start playing hard.” 

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One key component that has been missing for the Rebels is senior Lizzie McManus. McManus is out with an ankle injury. Chambers Academy has missed her size at the net and her ability to block powerful attackers. 

“When we play teams that have a dominant middle hitter, we struggle to get hands on them,” Patterson said. 

“I have Kelsea Harmon in at middle, which is where she used to play. I thought she did a fantastic job, but we needed two fantastic middles. It hurts us.” 

Harmon and MaKenzie Gilliland led the Rebels in the match. Harmon had two kills and two blocks. Gilliland finished with two blocks and three kills. 

In the second set, the match took an odd turn. Chambers Academy scored a point to cut Morgan’s lead to 21-13. The match was then stopped as the Senators’ bookkeeper claimed that the Rebels had made an illegal substitution. 

After more than 20 minutes of debating, the officials ruled for a re-serve, and the point was taken away from the Rebels. 

“They were fired up,” Patterson said. “I stayed back here most of the time. Finally, I was like, this is taking so long. They were trying to say that we had illegally substituted someone, and we just kept going back and forth. I’m going to leave here today still thinking that I did exactly what I was supposed to.” 

In the second set, Patterson also changed up the rotation from what it had been. Talley Carter came in and became the primary setter for the second set. Several other girls who had not been playing as much contributed during the match. 

Despite the loss, the atmosphere of the match was like no other high school volleyball match in the state of Alabama. The student section fired up the crowd throughout the match and during the stoppage. 

“Last year, we had none of that,” Patterson said. “This was one of the bigger crowds. It helps us so much because the louder they get, the more excited my players get. We’ve needed that from the very beginning. I told them in a timeout if y’all will just keep feeding off this, to learn how to have that out here amongst yourselves, we’ll never get beat.” 

Next up for Chambers Academy is a match against Coosa Valley at home. The season is quickly winding down for the Rebels as there is no area tournament in the AISA. 

Still, with just a handful of matches left in the season, Patterson is steadily looking for improvement. 

“We could be a lot smarter at the net,” Patterson said. “I’ve been telling them for weeks, I feel like, skills, they are fine. It’s all mental.”