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Taking one for the team

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By Josh Cook

Before the Collins volleyball team’s match against crosstown-rival Shelby County on Thursday night, the Titans took turns writing on the grease board in their locker room the reasons they play volleyball and why they wanted to win the match against the Rockets.
“We all said we wanted to win for each other,” Collins junior outside hitter Christen Stewart said.  
The host Titans did just that, getting key contributions from players throughout their roster, downing Shelby County, 3-1 (25-23, 25-15, 20-25, 25-15). It was Collins’ first victory over the Rockets since beating them in the 30th District Tournament final in October of 2011. Shelby County swept both meetings last year.
This time around the Titans triumphed thanks to some solid hitting by junior outside hitter MiChaela Stoudemire (13 kills), good defense and sizzling serving (Collins collected 13 aces).   
“I thought our defense gave us a chance,” first-year Titans Coach Cary Clark said. “And I thought MiChaela was the best athlete on the court, in my opinion.”
Junior libero Koti Weaver tallied 25 of Collins’ 57 digs. Meanwhile freshman Blair Nethery notched six aces for the Titans (3-3 after the victory).
Collins had a 94.7 serving percentage in the first set – the Titans missed only one of 19 serves – but had to hold off a late rally. Sierra Shepherd’s tip kill was the set-winner for Collins, which received 13 digs from Weaver in that set.
Shelby County, meanwhile, had six service errors in the first set.
In the second set Weaver’s younger sister, freshman Kori, reeled off seven consecutive service points to help the Titans build a 13-6 lead. They cruised to a 10-point victory behind four kills from Stoudemire and two from senior Tori Ladwig.
In the third set Collins opened up a 12-8 lead before Shelby County battled back, eventually tying the score at 17. With the score deadlocked at 20 a short time later, the Rockets took the final five points of the set behind the serving of junior Lyndsay Best.
In the fourth set the Titans jumped out to a 14-4 lead and coasted. Stoudemire recorded four kills and freshman Karolina Morris three in the set, and Nethery notched four aces.
Senior middle blocker Kyndle Pace, in her second match back from a broken foot, paced Shelby County (3-1) with six kills. Sophomore Abby Wills led the Rockets on defense with 12 digs, and junior Rachel Tipperman tallied four aces. Shelby County, though, was plagued by passing and serve-reception errors.
“It was a little disappointing to see them break their own game down,” Rockets Coach Felicia Pace said.
Collins, which played at 30th District-rival Anderson County on Tuesday night, plays at another 30th rival, Spencer County, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The Rockets, meanwhile, don’t play again until Sept. 10, at Anderson County.

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Collins def. SCHS 3-1 (25-23, 25-15, 20-25, 25-15)
CHS stats: MiChaela Stoudemire 13 kills; Karolina Morris 5 kills; Keri Perdue 14 assists; Blair Nethery 6 aces; Koti Weaver 25 digs; Kori Weaver 8 kills; Christen Stewart 2 solo blocks.
SCHS stats: Kyndle Pace 6 kills, 6 digs, 3 blocks; Rachel Tipperman 4 aces, 7 digs; Abby Wills 3 kills, 12 digs.