By R. Alan Richardson
It was a great final week for our Spikers as they defeated Jenkins Savannah on Tuesday 3-0 in the first round of the State Playoffs. They had to turn around on Thursday in the Sweet Sixteen and play a very talented Greater Atlanta Christian team and fell 0-3 to be eliminated.
Coach Greg Thompson had these words, “I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish this year. This season was fun for me and I can only hope the girls enjoyed it as much as I did. I think we were playing some of our best volleyball when it mattered the most. We made a great push late in the year and were able to win the area championship, and secure a first and second round home match which was really great for our girls. Greater Atlanta had a very solid team, but I loved the way we competed in all three sets. Sometimes you have to just commend a team who plays well and is able to execute when they need to and that’s exactly what GAC did. I can’t say enough about our team and how proud I am of them. I am just thankful to have had the opportunity to coach such a fantastic group of young ladies.”
Morgan swept all three sets against Jenkins by scores of 25-13, 25-16, and 25-20 in a match that was never really in doubt. According to Thompson, the team did not play its best, but put the match away on superior skills in setting, passing, and at the net. Stars for the Lady Dogs in Tuesday’s match were Tobi Johnson, Mary Zimmerman, Carley Henry, Gracie Burge, Taylor Adams, Savannah E’Dalgo, Madison Gasque, Baylie Shultz, Katie Hill, and Natalie Baddour. The entire squad played well and it was on to round two.
The tone was set for the match when team member Carley Henry sang a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem for the crowd. However it was an entirely different set of circumstances for Morgan in the match as they went up against GAC on Thursday. This was very good number two seed from 7-AAA. They showed their dominance early as they took an 11-5 lead after the Dogs took a timeout to try and stop the run. The Lady Spartans showed some muscle with their net game and strong hitters in the first set. Their setting and passing game was also sound throughout the night.
Morgan closed the gap to 21-15 late in the set on the serve of Zimmerman, but that was as close as they would come. GAC scored four straight points to take the 25-15 win and a 1-0 lead.
In the second set GAC again took a 4-0 lead before Morgan came back to make it 4-7. It was all Spartans after that when they went on two eight-point runs to take a 24-5 lead before finishing the second set out at 25-8.
The third set saw Morgan come out fighting and playing some of their finest volleyball of the season. With their backs against the wall, they fell behind 5-1 in the final set. They scrapped and clawed their way back from a number of deficits to tie it up on two occasions and then took the lead at 13-11. Another tie at 17-17 had the team, coach, and fans in a frenzy.
The spikers enhanced their chances on Zimmerman’s serve to take a 23-20 lead before GAC scored four straight for the 24-23 lead. Adams killed one on the ensuing play to tie it up at 24 all, but the Spartans were not going down. They scored the next two points for the 26-24 win.
It was a record setting season for the Dogs as they became the first volleyball team in history to win an Area Championship. Congratulations to Coach Thompson and all the players on a job well done.