By R. Alan Richardson
In volleyball play this past week, the Morgan County Lady Dogs took a three straight set win over private school Gatewood (Eatonton) at home and the JV lost 3-1 against the same group in the opener.
The event was scheduled to also have George Walton in the meet, but that didn’t pan out. After GW cancelled their match, it was decided to play a best of five series against Morgan’s JV and varsity against the Gators. Gatewood only fielded eight players for the contest so it was great competition for Morgan’s younger group as they fought hard against an older and more experienced team than they had faced all season. MOCO’s varsity had little trouble manhandling the Gator’s team in three sets 25-21, 25-15, and 25-10.
The first varsity set was closer than expected as Gatewood matched Morgan point for point. There were six ties that included GW a spike for a 7-7 tie before Brooke Randall got a kill to take the lead at 8-7. Randall then ripped off five straight service points that included a kill by senior Nijah Young to take a commanding 12-7 lead. The Lady Gators roared back within a point at 12-11 and it was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way. Gatewood tied the match at 15 and 16 each before finally taking their first lead of the match at 17-16. Morgan battled to tie things up at 17, 18, and 19 points each, but the Lady Gators went up by two points at 21-19 for their biggest lead of the set. With Bailey Shultz serving, the Dogs got a spike from Emma Silvey and two by Randall to finish out the set for the 1-0 lead at 25-21.
The next two sets weren’t nearly as close. Randall, Sam Crowley, Silvey, Young, McKenzie Larate and others dominated at the net. The passing and setting was on point as Shultz and Anna Cox did their thing to set up most of the points.
In the second set Morgan took an early lead at 12-5 only to see that lead evaporate to six points late in the set to 19-13 before the Lady Dogs took control. Cox finished out the set from serve when MOCO scored the last four points to make it 2-0. Crowley and Randall were again big in the end with a Crowley spike ending it.
The third set was more of the same. The team took an early lead at 6-2 and never gave up the lead after that. It was all Morgan. The lead swelled to 20-10 before Crowley finished out the set from serve with five straight points to win the set 25-10 and the match 3-0.
The JV match highlighted some of the underclass talent for Morgan County coming through the ranks. The one thing you could take away from this one is that Coach Carrie McClain’s group plays hard; very hard. They went up against a tough opponent and held their own. You could also see a little fire from the head coach who played volleyball at Piedmont College. She wasn’t accepting any less than the team’s best.
The team went up 6-2 in the early going only to see Gatewood tie things up at 6-6. After a couple of ties and lead changes, the Lady Gators took command running out to a 19-8 advantage. They finished off the Dogs 25-11 for the first set win. After a slow start in the second set, MOCO took the lead at 7-6 before Gatewood began to show their dominance once again. It was 19-11 Gatewood before Ansley Shultz reeled off six straight service points to give the Lady Dogs a chance. The score was 19-18 before Morgan knotted the score at 21-21 on a spike by Angel Binion who played well all night. Gatewood ended the set with two straight service points to go up 2-0 in the match after the 25-22 set win.
In an exciting third set, the Lady Dogs made it 2-1 to give them some life. Great play by Sabrina Jones, Brooklynne Guinn, Jesi Pye, Chesley Paschal, and others (rosters were incomplete) made the difference in the 25-20 set win. The JV was trailing by as much as nine points before making a rally late in the set. Morgan tied it up at 19-19 and would not be denied with a 6-1 run to close out the set.
The girls gave a great effort in the final set falling 25-19 for the 3-1 loss.