Fire & Desire
By Tamira Conner Rogers
We walked off the court defeated, although in our hearts we knew we deserved it more. However, believe it and doing are two different things.
We entered day one of the conference playoffs confident and sure, we would clinch a number one spot in the semi-finals. In our first game against Livingstone College, who had beaten us during the CIAA roundup, was inspiring and fun-filled. We breezed through two sets, but lost the third 26-24. However, we managed to get the "W" with a 26-24 score in the fourth set. What shocked most people was three of the hitters from Livingstone were placed on the All-CIAA first team, but didn't manage to break twelve kills, while myself and Bethany Sloat accounted for 21 and 20 kills respectively. Who would have imagined?
Next up, was Virginia Union. During the season, we swept the Panthers each time we played them-we had the same expectations in this match. We took the first set with ease, but in the second set, we faced the biggest challenge we had yet to face the entire season. It was beyond me but Union managed to gain a 21-10 lead on us in the second set. With only four points, left for them to score our coach called a time out.
"I bet you guys can get to 20 before they get to 21," she said, out of desperation of what could make our road to the championship round harder. We all agreed and said "Team" in unison. As the points racked up the entire gym was in complete shock including Livingstone who was a bit salty after their loss to us.
"How did they do it?" a player from Livingstone asked. I told her "It was the team that did it." We managed, just as our coach said, to reach 20 before they reached 22 tying the game at 21-21, pulling away with second set. We carried that momentum into the third set adding another "sweep" in the book.
The third and final game of the day was against Fayetteville State University who we loss a five set match to at the Round-up. We went a long four games with them but were unable to get the win, placing us second in our pool. The next day we faced Elizabeth City State University who in the past two years never beat us in the playoffs despite their 2-0 record with us during the season.
That day was calm and we all were confident that we were going to win. We could tell from the looks on their faces they were scared because we knew they remembered what happened every year. The whistle blew, "bump, set, tip!" the ball fell, and it continued to fall, over and repeatedly until the 25 point for Elizabeth City in the third set. They defeated us. We were no longer contenders for the CIAA Championship title.
Of all the losses, we suffered this season that was hurt the most. Not only was it my last game that I would ever play in college, but the manner in which we lost was almost embarrassing. We played as if we never touched the court before. Some of us tried to get ourselves together, but mentally the team was not there.
I walked off the court into the bathroom and cried knowing that the moment I feared for these past four years has come. I cried because I gave all that I could in that game, all that my body would allow. Now is the next phase of my life. Law School- let us see what this journey holds.