The MCHS Spike Dogs punched their ticket to the State Volleyball Championship with a win over Monroe Area this past week. The victory pushed Morgan into the 8-AAA Region Championship Final Four. A loss to Jefferson and a win over Hart County gives them the third slot from the Area. This means they will travel to Westminster Schools Saturday, Oct. 19 to face the second seeded team out of Area 6-AAA, North Murray. Times have yet to be determined. Ringgold will be the number one seed at 25-15 for the season.
The Lady Mountaineers hail from Chatsworth and come in with an overall record of 10-15 in an Area that only has five teams. Morgan should fare well in the first round having played in one of the toughest Areas the state has to offer. Both Jefferson and Jackson County should bring a strong presence to the State Tournament. Five of Morgan’s losses have come at the hands of these two teams. Jefferson defeated Jackson County 3-1 in the finals in some exciting volleyball action to take the Area Championship honors.
Morgan ousted the Lady Purple Hurricanes of Monroe Area in the first round last week in a home match in straight sets 3-0. Morgan dominated the match 25-14, 25-15, and 25-9. The Lady Dogs jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on the serve of Anna Cox, but Monroe fired back to tie the score at 4-all. After that the girls began to assert themselves with quick sets that seemed to be the strategy of the afternoon. Presley Hill and McKenzie Larate muscled up at the net for some kills and points that sent Morgan out to an 11-4 advantage behind the service game of Brooke Butler. It was all Lady Dogs from there. Sam Crowley got an ace on a four-point run and kills by Emma Silvey and Butler gave Morgan the 20-9 lead before Butler finished off the final two points for the first set win 25-14.
The final two sets were carbon copies of the first. The service and net game, as well as the overall hustling play of Morgan were simply too much for Monroe. Makenzie Pitzer, Gracie Christian, and Reagan McClain also contributed in the final two sets. Highlights included a six-point service run by Larate and bombs at the net from the usual cast of Pitzer, Silvey, Butler, and Larate.
According to Coach Olivia Daniell, MOCO lost to a very, very good Jefferson team in the semifinals at Jackson County in the Area Tournament. She said, “Sam Crowley played well. As libero, she had to defend some very smart and talented hitters on Saturday. She was pretty consistent in her defense and reading the ball and had a lot of digs. She also helped out tremendously offensively by telling her hitters where the open spots on the court were. Her communication and insight is a great asset for our team. Presley Hill had a great morning offensively as well. She went up against a big Jefferson block and was able to place quite a few kills. Emma Silvey had a good hitting match as well. She has a great line shot that threw the defense for a bit of a loop to earn us some points! McKenzie Larate played well on the serving front. She had five aces against Hart County.”
Daniell was asked if the Fall break might have affected her team’s play. She responded, “I don’t feel that Fall break much affected our team. It was nice to have some morning practices as well as another practice on the sand court. We played a match Thursday- which is typical and kind of kept with our routine. Many of my girls also play club volleyball so they are used to playing on a Saturday morning.”
“I’d just want to add that the girls played well on Saturday against Jefferson. We lost, but we played well- Jefferson just played a little tighter and cleaner. Hart County’s program has much improved from last year. There were some really long rallies that the girls really had to fight to win. I saw a lot of grit and determination to win the big “momentum” points in that game which always makes a coach happy! I’m excited to see them play again this weekend!”