Tompkins Spikers Embrace State 

By Terry Carter

The Tompkins Lady Falcons have been unflappable this season, dropping three early matches and a playoff warmup. This is their first appearance, but Tompkins has handled many challenges to get this far.

Now they match skills and wits with the best 6A squads in Texas at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. After getting to their hotel on Thursday, the Tompkins team needed 90 minutes to get the day started after bus troubles. But a trip to Buccee’s transformed the day before arriving at the tournament site.

“The kids couldn’t wait to get to Buccee’s,” Tompkins head volleyball coach Allison Merrell said of the off-day on Thursday. “For Tompkins this is pure excitement, joy and a blessing to have this opportunity. The kids are buzzing! They are having a blast, and they perform best when they are loose.”

At 41-4, they enter Friday’s Volleyball State Semifinal reaching for the stratosphere with perhaps the best outside hitter in Texas and a lineup that is deep in talent and diverse skills.

Tompkins faces Keller (33-11) on Friday at 5 p.m. in the first 6A semifinal. The Woodlands (43-9) squares off against Dripping Springs (41-13) at 7 p.m. tonight in the second semifinal. The winners will meet at 5 p.m. on Saturday for the 6A state championship.

Keller features size, as all four teams do. But the Indians have 6-3 Leah Ford and 6-4 Anna Boater to lead the way. Tompkins matches that with great ball movement and setting by Erica Dellesky and Presley Powell.

The size and vertical leap of senior kill leader 6-0 Cindy Tchouangwa and the power of junior 6-0 Skylar Skrabanek. Tompkins features seven players who hit or exceed that mythical 6-0 height. They came prepared for the war of spikes, digs, aces and attrition that showcase the annual UIL state volleyball tournament.

Tompkins has the fewest losses among the four regional champions, which is a mental edge. And their leaders are well versed on relaxation through yoga and breathwork, which are growing trends in competitive athletics, including the Olympics.

With her vertical leap, Tompkins OH Cindy Tchouangwa (12) can hit over any block. That will be valuable this weekend as the Lady Falcons

hunt their first volleyball state title. (Photo by Terry Cartert/