#4 Warriors Rowing into the Postseason Together
With every year that passes, Judy Green’s teams at Thompson continue to take that next step. After a super regional appearance in 2018, Green spoke about her program and the valuable experience they gained. “Everybody in our program knows our goal, but we don’t have to talk about it. We were gratefulto get to the super regional last year, that was a big hurdle for us. But when we get back we won’t be shell shocked, we’ve had this experience and now we have to value every experience we have.”
Her Warriors weren’t shocked at all and advanced to the Elite Eight the following year. So what’s next for the volleyball team? Green adopted the mantra “Row The Boat” three years ago as a constant reminder to her girls that they never row, or play alone. It’s been incredibly valuable in a 2020 offseason as tumultuous as any in recent memory as the team has dealt with routine changes, schedule changes and times off and on the court where the Warriors had to be there for each other, both good and bad. In the offseason, Judy addressed the issues with COVID-19 and trying to find the positive in the negative. “I think this whole pandemic thing has brought out the way that we should all focus on our day to
day operations,” says Green. “In our program we talk about having a ‘growth mindset’ and
staying focused on the process and the journey. I think that has been escalated and this is how you should go about your life.”
Thompson is ranked fourth in Class 7A heading into the playoffs with a record of 20-6. They also navigated one of the most loaded regions in the entire state with fellow top ten finishers Hoover and Oak Mountian. Headed into the area tournament, Green is pleased with the improvements made both on the court and her team’s mindset. “One of the things that happened for us during the regular season as we have continued to improve within our offensive and defensive systems. Going into the season, we wanted to be better at blocking as a team and also in our overall team play—we have done both,” says Green. “ intangibly, we have learned how to be grateful for each opportunity and to always be thankful that we were able to practice and compete. So many people around us helped make our season possible and we will never forget their efforts.“ Senior Kelsey Tangle and juniors Briana Wilson and Jada White were all named to preseason watch lists from the American Volleyball Coaches Association and have led the team on the floor to this point, but it doesn’t stop there. Senior Sophie Bearden has been a stalwart at the net and with the addition of a healthy Kaitlyn Grant, the Warriors have a front line that can compete with anyone in the state. Outside hitters Caroline Canady and Baylee Southern have also stepped up their game and give Thompson great depth along with giving Tangle more weapons to attack opponents.
Madison Touhey has also been a valuable asset from the service line and stepping in to run the offense as well. With several years at Thompson under her belt, Judy Green has developed her program down to the middle school level and has been watching her current varsity group grow up and grow together through this process. They’ve had success all the way since seventh grade and theveteran coach believes they can be special.
“This group is a little bit different—different in a good way—I do believe that they’re closer. And I say that because there has been a core group of players that started together in the seventh grade and they had so much success early on, but once they got to high school that team got split up,” said Green. “They are so happy to be back together again, but I also think that our oldest players are really good and effective leaders and communicators. I think we have a good balance with our oldest players at the moment.” Leadership, athleticism and a strong chemistry is what has carried the Warriors to this point and it will be what takes them across the finish line. Green’s squad looks to take that next step as they row together toward another shot at a title.