Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 30, 2012

JUNIOR COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL: Maiden voyage

At first regional tournament, TVCC takes swing at title

Jayson Larson
The Athens Review

ATHENS — Confidence is something Trinity Valley Community College head coach Tosha Spain has talked a lot about over the years.

Spain watched it change her team’s mindset literally overnight last week after defeating Paris in the regular-season finale to officially punch their ticket to the Region XIV Volleyball Tournament. The tournament begins Thursday in Baytown at Lee College.

Confidence is something her team is going to need again as the Lady Cardinals (18-10) head into the tournament for the first time in school history as the No. 4 seed. TVCC faces the country’s No. 1-ranked team, San Jacinto, Thursday at 4 p.m.

“The girls are feeling good — they’re excited,” Spain said. “I think winning that Paris game gave us the confidence we needed.”

TVCC initially thought it had clinched a playoff spot, but learned just prior to the Paris match that it had to win to avoid a tie-breaking “play-in” game against rival Navarro.

After beating Paris last week in what turned out to be a must-win game, Spain said her team reported to practice the next day with a confidence she hadn’t seen all season.

“They could have taken that two ways — they could have pouted,” Spain said, “but they played their hearts out and earned it.”

Paulla Pinheiro leads TVCC with 272 kills this season, with Palestine’s Jazmine Hicks second with 158 and Shakendra Mumphrey third with 153. Hicks, who is also one of the softball team’s top players, also leads the Lady Cardinals with 38 block-assists and 22 solo blocks.