It looked like it was all over. Centenary was up 2-0, and they only needed one more set to win the best-of-five game. Some Grambling fans gave up and decided to head back to their dorms or apartments. However, it’s never over until the fat lady sings.
While Centenary seemed to become comfortable with their lead, the Lady Tigers did something: they played with an intensity that Okina Alford believes has been
"We have a tendency to play at our opponent’s level and not our level."
That level came and hit hard. It hit so hard that Lacy Cormier ended up spiking a ball into Centenary’s Danielle Bochat’s face. Bochat was shaken, and she ended up finishing the game 14 aces and two kills.
"I would’ve just laid on the floor," said an excited Alford. "I just got hit in the face with a ball."
While the hit was unusual to some Grambling fans, Cormier is used to it. "It’s not the first time that I hit someone in the face with ball," Cormier said. Cormier was glad it happened as it helped lift her team’s spirits. "When I show aggression, it makes my team play harder."
Centenary made a mistake, one so costly that it ended up hurting them. Instead of challengin
missing for a while. Alford knew they had to bring it this game.
"I hope we come through and play at our level and not their level," said Alford, referring to her thoughts before the gameg Cormier’s shot for the rest of the third match, they simply let the ball hit the ground, allowing Grambling to start a comeback. This pleased Coach Pauline Pahulu. "When Lacy [Cormier] hit the ball and everyone spread out in the third set, that helped us come back." The Tigers ended up taking two consecutive sets, with 31-29 being the score both times. This was after Centenary won sets one and two, 30-27 and 30-28 respectively. With the score being 2-2, only half of the set had to be played. Centenary took a quick 3-1 lead, leading Coach Kim Young to call a timeout to talk to the Lady Tigers. The timeout worked, as Grambling fought back, forcing Centenary’s Coach Jenny Hazelwood to call a timeout.
Pretty soon, the fans were jumping at each hit, wondering where the ball would land. As each time got closer, some fans squealed with glee or anguish, for they knew this set would determine the game.
Then, a controversial call occurred. Grambling’s Ashley Cooper spiked the ball, and the official said the ball was in. However, the entire Centenary bench believed the ball was out. This call could’ve helped put Centenary away. Alford believes the ball was in.
"If we hit it, I think it was in," she said confidently.
Grambling used the remainder of the match to assault Centenary until they fell 12-15 in the last set, allowing Grambling to pick up its first win of the season.
"About time," said Marquita Waites on their long-awaited win. "It feels nice to overcome obstacles and come back."
Waites also knows what helped the Lady Tigers win this one. "A lot of communication and our passing helped."
Even though Cormier had 11 kills, she is still frustrated.
"Today wasn’t a good day for me," she said. "It’s the first day I’ve played in a month. Hopefully, I’ll be warm by the next game."
The next game is coming soon, as the Lady Tigers left today (Sept. 8) to head down to Tulsa, Okla. for the Tulsa Tournament. The Lady Tigers will be entering the tournament with a 1-3 record.
While it’s too early to tell if the Lady Tigers will win the SWAC Championship, Waites is certain. "We have a great team from Grambling this year."
Alford seconds that idea.
"I feel like we have a good, strong team, and I predict a successful season for us, especially in the SWAC." As stated earlier, it?s never over until the fat lady sings.