By R. Alan Richardson
The Morgan County Spike Dogs may be peaking at just the right time. What time is it? It’s tournament time! The playoffs for the 8-AAA Area Championship begin this week. If Morgan is to defend its 2018 Title, they will have to do it coming in as the number three seed behind Jefferson and Jackson County. That will come as no easy task as Jefferson (29-4) and Jackson County (33-10) are ranked number four and six respectively in Class AAA. It’s no surprise that the number one, two, and three spots are held by private schools Pace Academy, Westminster, and Greater Atlanta Christian in that order. However, the Lady Dogs aren’t far behind with a AAA ranking of number eight going into this week’s tournament.
Morgan had a good showing in their final outing of the regular season in matches with two perennial powerhouses; Eastside and Oconee County. Morgan ousted the Lady Warriors from North of the border in three close sets 25-22, 24-26, and 15-7. In the second match of the night, MOCO fell to our neighbors to the west 24-26, 25-20, and 10-15. The girls have shown all season that they can compete with the best. They will need to play their best volleyball of the season to defend that crown on foreign turf as the Final Four will be played at Jackson County.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The team will have to go through Monroe Area this Thursday (Oct. 10) at 5 p.m. to make the Final Four a reality. The Lady Hurricanes haven’t been a pushover for Morgan thus far this season and have an improved program. Morgan won those two contests in straight sets, but the scores were fairly close. Early in September the Dogs defeated Monroe 25-13 and 25-23 at home and again at Monroe two weeks ago 25-22 and 25-18. If this team wants to get a shot at redemption after four losses to the top two teams, they better be ready for this week’s match. Monroe comes in with a record of 10-25 while Morgan sports a 17-10 record for the season.
A win Thursday over Monroe would be huge. The top four teams playing Saturday will automatically get a bid to the State Volleyball State Championship Tournament. Area 8 teams will go up against teams from Area 6 that has only five teams. Number one Ringgold is ranked at number 12 in AAA and three other squads in the Area have losing records. It could be an easy route to the Sweet 16 if MOCO can put away the Lady Canes this week. Get out and show your support for this talented team with no seniors on the roster.