Alabama A&M seemingly had it wrapped up. They had gone undefeated until the SWAC Championship title game. They then found themselves losing the first game 1-3 to the Lady Tigers.Suddenly, they found themselves up 2-0 in a match. All they had to do was defeat the Lady tigers one more time to become champions.
However, the Lady Tigers refused to be outdone at home. They stormed back and won two sets decisively, forcing a fifth set. With the season on the line and hundreds of fans screaming in their ear, the Lady Bulldogs knew what they had to do.
“All I was thinking was, ‘Please don’t let me have to go back to Alabama and these folks beat us twice,” said Coach Nedra Brown of Alabama A&M.
The Lady Bulldogs responded, winning the final set 15-11. As the celebration began, the Lady Tigers and their fans stood flabbergasted and shocked. For the eleventh year in a row, they yield a good team, but is unable to capture the SWAC Championship.
But Brown said a ring isn’t too far from their future.
“[The Lady Tigers] played awesome,” she said. “Grambling has an outstanding team, coach, and institution.”
As her team continued their celebration with their friends and family, some coming all the way from Houston to support them, she was able to smile a bit.
“We had to fight for this one,” she said with a laugh.
The team, facing a fifth set, still had the confidence of a champion.
“We knew we could win,” said Karensa Beckford, MVP of the game. “We felt it in our bones that we were going to win.”
With the win, the Lady Bulldogs broke a tie for most volleyball championships, which they shared with Texas Southern.
As GSU fans shouted and rallied against the Lady Bulldogs, it never fazed them.
“All we do in practice is talk smack to each other,” Beckford said. “That doesn’t faze us at all.”
Tears fell from both sides as the Lady Bulldogs held up their championship trophy. The Bulldogs shed tears of joy, while the Lady Tigers shed tears of frustration. The Lady Tigers lost their record 21-game winning streak.
As Brown was handed her Coach of the Year award, she said she owed the award to her team.
“All the glory goes to the players,” she said. They did a great job. I owe it all to them. I’m just a figure.