By R. Alan Richardson
The Morgan County High School volleyball squad has lined up against some of the toughest competition they will face all season in their first week of play. The matches have all been close with the Lady Dogs winning two of their first six contests. The two wins were against Oconee County in three sets and Flowery Branch in straight sets.
In the absence of head coach Olivia Daniell, who is on maternity leave, varsity assistant Carrie McClain is at the helm and leading the Lady Dogs. She told us, “The Saturday play day at Athens Academy was really good for the team. The girls are starting to gel more and more each set. We did not start out quite as strong as we expected against Madison County and Walnut Grove but took each team to three sets.”
McClain gave high praise to two of her veterans, Emma Silvey and Brooke Butler, saying, “Emma has done a stellar job of leading this team. She is consistently performing on the court and had several service runs this weekend to bring us back from deficits. Brooke is a player you can never count out. When you think a ball is impossible to get, she will make a clutch play to keep our team in the rally.”
She also pointed out two freshmen that are giving the team a boost in the early going. “Presley Hill and Mackenzie Pitzer, who have been starting for us, are doing a fantastic job. It takes court time to get used to the pace of a game at this level and gain confidence playing against girls who are two and three years older. These two are valuable additions to the team.”
The girls have a number of returning starters with lots of game and varsity experience. They hope to be a contender for another Area Title when playoff time comes around. “The most exciting thing this year is the depth of our team. We have several girls who can play in multiple positions on the court giving us offensive and defensive options. Our practices are intense and every player is helping the other girls on the team to grow,” said McClain.
This week the team will face off with Athens Academy and Eastside in a three-way match at home starting at 5:00 p.m. Thursday. The JV squad will also participate in that event before they travel to Athens Academy Saturday for an invitational tournament.