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Volleyball: Lambert dominates Milton to grab Area 5-7A lead
Taylor Nelson
Lambert sophomore Taylor Nelson returns a ball Tuesday during the Longhorns' 3-0 win against Milton. - photo by David Roberts

Ally Hall has been the face of Lambert's volleyball program for several years.

On senior night Tuesday, however, Hall got a glimpse at the freshmen, sophomores and juniors who will take her place at the conclusion of her senior season.

Turns out, Lambert might be just fine. 

Hall tallied a team-high 15 kills and 20 assists, junior Nidhisha Kancharla and sophomore Taylor Nelson each had 10 kills, and Lambert swept Milton 3-0 to grab first place of Area 5-7A.

"I'm loving the contribution from our younger kids. They've grown right before my eyes," Lambert head coach Missey Hall said. "They were already good players, but watching them grow in a game atmosphere has been really cool. They're like sponges, too; they're so easy to coach."

Lambert (16-9, 3-0 Area 5-7A) has a hefty junior class — 10 players — but only two seniors: Ally Hall and Claire Mathauer. The rest are freshmen and sophomores. 

"It was definitely a good game, and everyone contributed," Ally Hall said. "After Jordan (White) hurt her finger, Ella (Beyer) came up the middle running those twos and did a great job. It shows how versatile we are. It really excited me."

White left the match during the second set after hurting her finger, but fellow freshman Ella Beyer entered the match and helped Lambert rally from a 19-15 deficit.

Gillian Mathauer
Lambert sophomore Gillian Mathauer, left, and junior Nidhisha Kancharla attempt a block Tuesday during the Longhorns' 3-0 win against Milton. - photo by David Roberts
Clinging to a one-point lead, Beyer took a pass from Ally Hall and dumped it over an aggressive Milton defense to make the score 23-21. On the next play, Beyer had a block that set up match point for Lambert, which the Longhorns won after Milton's serve flew over the back line and out of play.

"I am really thrilled with the result, especially considering the injury we had in the middle of the game — I'd already used a lot of subs," Missey Hall said. "But this is what this team has done all year: They've been absolutely resilient. That was our 15th lineup that we've run this year. We've had illnesses, we've had injuries and they just seem to bring it together. It's really cool to see."

Ally Hall's versatility was on display, too. 

A Middle Tennessee commit at outside hitter, Ally Hall has been the team's setter for much of the season. She added six digs to her tally Tuesday.

"It's incredible," she said. "Like, I love being able to set another person, because that's the cool thing about setting, is that you're a part of every play. You can change the game and set who you want when you know who's going to get the job done. When Taylor has that look in her eye, it's like, 'That ball is going to you. I'm setting you, I know it.'"

Nelson was sensational all night, tallying a chunk of her 10 kills during the first set, which allowed Lambert to set the tone of the match with a 25-14 win. She also had eight digs and an ace. 

Behind Ally Hall, Kancharla has been the Longhorns biggest contributor on offense this year, racking up 110 kills a season after finishing with 16. Kancharla chipped in a pair of blocks and an ace in the win.

Miranda Hardin
Lambert libero Miranda Hardin digs a ball Tuesday during the Longhorns' 3-0 win against Milton. - photo by David Roberts
Junior Miranda Hardin finished with two aces and six digs, making a couple of spectacular plays to keep Lambert's rallies alive.

Missey Hall called Tuesday's senior night a surreal moment, one made more special by sharing it with her daughter, Ally.

"She adores this team. It's a special group of girls — one of the most special groups I've had," Missey Hall said. "They all really get along and really rally around each other. It doesn't matter who's going in on the court, everybody is supportive. That doesn't happen a lot with girls, and it's special to see." 

"It was very humbling," Ally Hall said. "We've definitely had our ups and downs. There's been a few screaming sessions the first couple years, but she's my mama, she's my best friend. I wouldn't trade it for the world."