Battle-tested Tallulah Falls set to open playoffs [VIDEO]
Unfazed…unflappable…unrelenting. Just about any positive word will do for the Lady Indians, who have shown time and time again in 2021 that they are able to play with anybody. There have been highs and lows in the 22-11 season that saw the girls finish as region runner-up for the fourth season in a row.
“I felt like going into this year, we would really have one of our strongest teams over, at least since I’ve been coaching,” says coach Matt Heyl. “This season has been a testament to that, we are full team. When we play up to our potential, I fell like we can beat almost anybody.”
Tallulah Falls’ success includes defeating six top-10 ranked teams, including previously undefeated and #1-ranked Murphy (NC) and recently against #7-ranked George Walton in the region semifinals. Those games and others like it have been key to the team’s morale and attitude this year.
“It gives our team a lot of confidence knowing that we can go up against those hard teams ,” says junior Sarah Jennings. “We don’t doubt ourselves…we know our potential and how hard we can play, so we just have to execute every game.”
Senior Allie Dalton, who this year has broken the single-match and single-season assists record at TFS, is just 8 shy of the all-time record as well. Meanwhile, Jennings has also broken the single-match record for kills, and may very well claim nearly every top spot statistically by the time she graduates.
The Lady Indians, who open the playoffs against an 18-16 Fellowship Christian program on Wednesday at home, are looking to make their third-ever Sweet 16. Currently, the Lady Indians have made the state playoffs in seven consecutive seasons.
“Our team, we push to continue that streak,” says Dalton. “We have all worked hard together and have loved making sure to keep that streak alive.”
While nearly every team has a motto or slogan each season, Tallulah Falls’ is simple, yet critical.
“‘Earn it’,” says Heyl. “Whatever win we get, our place in region, we want to earn it. Not do it half-heartedly, we want to earn it. It was going to take a year to earn it to even get to state.”