By R. Alan Richardson
In non-region play this week, the Morgan County volleyball team got wins at Eastside by defeating AAAA foe Eastside 25-23, 21-25, and 25-22 in a hotly contested match that went three sets. In the second match of the evening they ousted Athens Christian in straight sets 25-19 and 25-11.
“As far as Thursday’s games went, in all honesty, they didn’t play their best volleyball even though we came out with a close win over Eastside. I think it was a good lesson for them in pushing through when you’re having an off day. I explained to them that that’s an incredibly important lesson especially moving into the state playoffs.
We are now officially Region Champs! We were announced Friday at the football game as Region Champions and we moved up the rankings to fifth in the State Class AAA rankings. I am over the moon excited for the girls! Every week I tell them that they’ve worked hard for this and seeing the fruits of their labor (in their record) solidifies that in a tangible way for them. This team is special and I can’t wait to see how state playoffs go,” an exuberant first-year coach Daniell said.
The three set victory over the Eagles was obviously not an easy one with all three sets decided by four points or less. Morgan took the first set 25-23.
They held an early lead at 6-3 on MacKenzie Larate’s serve before Eastside tied things up and then surged ahead to an 11-8 lead. Net play by Emma Silvey, Sam Crowley, and Larate on Bailey Shultz serves put the Lady Dogs up 13-11, but this was going to be a back-and-forth set and match throughout.
After four ties in the latter part of the set, Morgan jumped out to a 24-20 lead after a Crowley tip and Silvey kill. The Lady Eagles came back to a 24-23 game before Morgan finished the set off to give MOCO the 1-0 set advantage.
Morgan fell behind 7-1 in set two before the Lady Dogs began to assert themselves. They closed the gap to four points on three occasions in the middle of the match and finally came within one at 18-17 when Brook Butler got three straight points on service. That was as close as they would get.
Eastside closed out the second stanza a 7-4 run that the visiting Bulldogs could not overcome. It ended 25-21.
The third and deciding set was a doozy as well. There were four ties in the early going when Nijah Young made a nice point to make it 6-6. The Lady Eagles then went on a run to take a 10-6 lead. The Lady Dogs fought back to 16-16 and 17-17 ties before finally taking the lead they wouldn’t relinquish at 18-17. Butler’s serves along with Young’s tip, two Silvey spikes, and another point by Butler gave the Dogs a 22-17 cushion going into the final minutes of the contest. Eastside did close the gap to 23-22, but a Crowley serve gave Morgan the final set and match 25-22.
The JV and Varsity Volleyball teams will play again on Thursday, October 4 at home where they will celebrate their Senior Night vs Cherokee Bluff and Oconee County in non-region play. Game times are set from 5 – 8 p.m.