TUPELO – Sarah Farmer’s injured left ankle didn’t hurt as much as the thought of losing to rival Southaven.
Tupelo’s 6-foot middle blocker came off the bench Tuesday night to give the Lady Wave a physical and mental boost in its 3-1 MHSAA Class III, Division 1 volleyball victory over the visiting Lady Chargers.
“The first game was torture to watch,” said Farmer, who saw Tupelo fall 26-24. “I told them if we got behind I was going in. I just couldn’t sit there and watch.”
Farmer had two of her seven kills and blocked a shot to help Tupelo rebound with a 25-16 win in the second game. The Lady Wave took the third and fourth games 25-11 and 25-17 to remain unbeaten at 19-0 overall and 3-0 in the division.
Tupelo coach Laurie Bishop struggled with her decision to play Farmer, who suffered her injury in Saturday’s Volleyfest at THS. The Wave won the semifinals and finals without her.
“I knew we needed to get her in,” said the first-year Lady Wave coach said. “We had planned to use the rotation we used Saturday without her. I watched her tonight in warmups and she looked comfortable.
“Putting her in was necessary.”
Tupelo outside hitter Kelsey Burnis, who recorded eight kills, said the team felt “incomplete” without Farmer on the floor.
“We were happy she was there cheering us on, but we were more excited when she came in,” Burnis said. “It gave us a lift.”
Farmer’s younger sister, 6-3 Hannah, led Tupelo with a match-high 17 kill shots and five blocks. On one play in the second game, Farmer blocked a shot, then followed it up with a kill.
But it was the play of the older Farmer that made the difference.
“She’s a great player,” said Southaven coach Allison Burchyett, whose team’s record dropped to 10-2 overall and 2-1 in the division. “She brings more energy and experience … gives them more firepower. We took advantage of her not being in the game.”
For Tupelo, outside Camille Walker recorded 10 kills.
“It’s always big to beat Southaven,” said Bishop, a former Lady Wave player. “They are one of our biggest division rivals.”
Tupelo travels to Horn Lake Thursday for a division match.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal