By R. Alan Richardsoon
After splitting matches earlier in the week the Lady Dogs’ volleyball team got a big 8-AAA Area win over the Lady Purple Hurricanes 25-11 and 25-10 in straight sets. Morgan had defeated Hart County in three sets and lost to East Jackson Tuesday.
4-AAAA opponent Eastside also came in as part of the tri-match with Monroe on Thursday. Morgan and Eastside led off the day’s action with Eastside taking out the Lady Dogs in the opener. The Lady Eagles jumped out in front in the first game 6-0, and Morgan never got closer than 8-4 before falling 25-16.
Coach Greg Thompson saw his group rebound to play much better in the second game. The service game of Katie Hill and aggressive net play of freshman Brooke Butler led the attack to give Morgan a 9-3 lead early. After a timeout Eastside closed the gap to 10-6 and continued to chip away at the lead. With the score at 12-11 Aris Hubbard and Butler got kills during a stretch where the two teams exchanged points. Eastside finally tied the game at 17-17, but the Dogs continued their solid net play with blocks and kills. Setter Bailey Shultz and libero Madison Gasque played well on the floor showing excellent passing and setting skills to the big hitters. The final minutes saw three ties at 19-19, 20-20, 22-22, and 23-23. Eastside took the final two points for the game and match.
The all-important region matchup with Monroe was never in doubt. Monroe put a much-improved product on the court from a year ago, but was no match for Morgan. The long service runs by Lexi Forton and Gasque along with superior play at the net from Hubbard and Butler proved to be the difference. Monroe got as close as 14-9 before the Dogs ripped off an 11-2 run for the win that included the final eight of the game from Gasque. It was 1-0 after the 25-11 first game victory.
The second game was similar with Morgan roaring out to the 8-1 lead and never looking back. Coming up big for the Spike Dogs were freshmen Gracie Christian and Anna Cox.
The Lady Dogs will face off with Jackson County and Oconee County at Oconee on 9/14. Both the JV and varsity teams will begin starting at 6 p.m.