Sensing the end, Tearra Roberson wanted the ball.
Attacking from back row and frontline both, the Shoemaker outside hitter rallied for her Lady Grey Wolves.
“It was very emotional, just knowing it was my last game and knowing it was the last time I’m going to be on this floor,” Roberson said. “I really wanted to win. Overall, I think we just had a great season, I love my teammates and I really enjoyed playing this year. That’s what it was about.”
But Roberson and Shoemaker’s four other seniors weren’t the only ones fighting to salvage their seasons, the last match of their high school careers.
Temple senior Taylor Valentin had 11 kills and eight of the Tem-Cats’ 13 aces, Amanda Goodman had 14 kills and Temple swept the Lady Grey Wolves 25-14, 25-13 and rallied for a 26-24 win in Game 3 in the regular season finale for both teams at Shoemaker.
“We never get to put these (uniforms), our favorite shoes and knee pads and everything on,” Valentin said. “I guess we get to play around, but we never get to be on the court in game situations anymore and to me, that’s something that no other people can understand — the bond of a team. That’s hard to find.”
Temple (12-28, 5-9 8-5A) took advantage of five Shoemaker errors to rally from a 22-14 deficit in Game 3 to keep Roberson’s final stand from becoming a turning point.
“She did all she could do. As a coach, you ask your players to give you 100 (percent) every time they step on the floor — she did that,” said Shoemaker coach Merdith-Shaw Moore of Roberson. “You hope that other teammates feed off that and follow her up and we fell short. She left out a lot on the floor. It’s her last home game, here, in this gym and she left a mark on the floor.”
Roberson had 13 kills, six in Game 3, seven digs and four blocks to lead Shoemaker (12-20, 1-13). TaKeyra Powell, another senior, had six kills and junior Anessa Pitts had five assists.
Raven Watson had 10 kills for Temple and CJ Anderson had 19 digs. Goodman added 21 digs and two blocks and Ismay Lee had 34 assists.
Shoemaker jumped out to a 6-2 lead early in Game 3, before Temple rallied and cut the deficit to 6-8 on a Goodman block. But Roberson put the Lady Grey Wolves on her shoulder and scored six points in a 12-4 Shoemaker run that gave the Lady Grey Wolves a 19-10 lead.
Following a kill from Temple’s Watson, Valentin hit a pair of aces around a Goodman kill to stall Shoemaker’s momentum. The Lady Grey Wolves stretched their lead to 22-14 on a hitting error by the Tem-Cats, but Temple scored six straight points in a 10-1 run that tied the game at 23. A Maddi Woodard kill gave Shoemaker game point, but Goodman scored back-to-back points on an ace and a kill and Valentin closed out all of their senior seasons with a cross-court kill from the left side.
“They weren’t in sync,” said Temple assistant coach Julie Goodman, filling in for head coach Bree Holz-Gonzalez, who’s out on maternity leave. “But, they had a drive. They fought back — I was proud of that. They came back strong. They weren’t going to let that game go by. That was a big thing — they dug deep and that was neat to see.”
Before Valentin found her groove behind the service line, the Tem-Cats’ serving suffered miserably in Game 1. They missed four in the game — all in the first 19 points — and led just 10-9 despite Shoemaker scoring just two offensive points. It was as actually an ace by Lee in the middle of a 6-0 run that finally gave Temple some breathing room at 16-11. Then, up 17-13, Valentin hit three aces and Watson finished the game win another for the Tem-Cats.
Temple pulled out of a 8-8 tie in Game 2 with three straight kills from Goodman, Anderson and Valentin to kick-start a 9-1 run, which included three aces from Lee, that gave the Tem-Cats a 17-9 lead. Valentin hit two more aces as Temple closed on an 8-3 run.