Daniell’s return sparks Spike Dogs

Staff Written Sports

By R. Alan Richardson

sports editor

The Lady Dogs’ volleyball team welcomed back Coach Olivia Daniell this past week with open arms.  The new mother has been on maternity leave since early June.  She told us, “I’m getting back into the swing of things at school and with practices and games.  This is all certainly new to me, but the baby (Finley) and my husband (Zach) are doing well.”  The third year head coach made her debut back with the team in wins over Prince Avenue and Clarke Central.  Daniell was temporarily replaced by assistant Coach Carrie McClain who has done a fine job in her absence.

The underclass-laden team has an unusual final home game this season.  There will be no senior night, but instead a black-out for the event.  Why?  This team doesn’t have a single senior on its roster.  The team is vying for its second straight Area Championship, but that path will be difficult.  After losing road matches to Jackson County and Jefferson a few days ago, they will have an uphill battle to finish first in the regular season and therefore host the Area Tournament.  Daniell commented, “Several things would have to fall into place for us to become the tournament host.  It is still possible for us to win the regular season and the Area Tournament.  This team is quite capable of doing that as they continue to gel.”

According to the head coach, this past week her squad defeated a very good Prince Avenue team, took down a lesser opponent in Clarke Central, lost to Eastside in a very tight match, and defeated Rockdale County pretty easily.  The highlight of the week could have been the Eastside match played in Covington.  The Lady Dogs defeated the Lady Eagles in a three-set home match earlier in the season that went down to the wire.  This one was similar with Eastside taking the match 28-26 and 29-27 and both sets going into overtime.  MOCO fought back in the second set from a 14 point deficit to tie the match, but came up short.  She said, “They are a very good team and well-coached.  We had our chances.  It was so close.”

The team has faced some tough competition throughout the year.  “I told the girls that’s who we want to play.  We have a good team.  It is not going to help us if we schedule teams that don’t test us,” Daniell said.  She also gave a big shoutout to freshman Mackenzie Pitzer saying, “She’s been playing well along the front line as a blocker and is actually our leader in kills when you look at her percentage.”  The formula she uses to determine kill percentage is kills minus errors divided by attempts.  For those of you interested in stats, there’s a new one to consider.

At the moment, Area 8-AAA is being led by Jackson County at 8-0 and 26-7 overall followed by Jefferson with a 5-1 record (only loss is to Jackson County) and 21-4.  Morgan follows in third at 3-2 with an 11-7 record while Hart County is nipping at their heels at 4-3.

Next up for Morgan will be Thursday, Sept 19 at Hart County where they will play both the Lady Bulldogs and the Jefferson Lady Dragons in a big Area competition.  The JV will also play with action starting at 5 p.m.

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