By R. Alan Richardson
A senior-dominated lineup for the Morgan County volleyball squad started the 2020 season off with a bang. Not only did they go undefeated (8-0) for the opening week, but they have yet to drop a single set. The experience of this squad is bound to pay dividends for Coach Kathleen Goodwin’s team.
In her first season as the head coach of the Spikers, Goodwin has liked what she’s seen so far. She commented, “I tell these girls that every match we get to play together is a gift and to play their hearts out and leave nothing on the court– no regrets or wishes for things they should have done or tried. And they are doing just that. This is a great group: they are individually talented volleyball players, but together, they form a really solid unit.”
Results for the week included wins over Oglethorpe County, Prince Avenue Christian, Oconee County, Loganville Christian Academy, Brookwood, and Grayson.
“We started off with a bang this week with 8 varsity matches. Our varsity is performing very well. They have yet to drop a set, which is awesome. We have shown consistency in all our matches and remained cool under pressure.” said Goodwin.
Senior Anna Cox weighed in on the wins following the first two matches of the week “These are the last first games we will ever play as seniors. It’s exciting. The team was pumped up, but the jitters showed some. We’ll get those out.” Another senior, Brooke Butler, said, “I’m just grateful that we get to play. I thought we played well, but were a little inconsistent at times.”
Goodwin gave her impressions of her first week with the new group. She said, “Before our Tuesday home matches versus Oglethorpe and Prince Avenue, the girls had only one week together to practice together as a team. There were definitely some jitters that we had to work out during those first matches, but they did an awesome job working together as a unit and building that foundation for the rest of our season. On Thursday versus LCA and Oconee, we saw some big hitters and tough defenses. They had to get creative and smart with their play, and our defense had to play really tight. It was fun to watch them come together under pressure. Versus Oconee, for instance, they were down in the second set, but they came together as a team and came back to win in two sets. That is impressive, especially so early in the season, and shows maturity from the girls. Our senior leadership certainly helps in pressure situations like that: Six of the 12 players on our varsity roster are returning seniors and nine of the 12 are returning varsity players from last year. At our Saturday play date at Brookwood High School, the girls came out swinging. They were focused and ready from the start. They played four full matches without breaks, which ended up being five hours of straight volleyball. It is mentally and physically taxing to play that much volleyball, and the fact that they didn’t even drop a set shows how dedicated this group of girls is and how tough they are.”
Here are the results and stats for Week One:
Thursday Aug. 13 @ Oconee
Won vs Loganville Christian Academy 25-9, 25-22
Leaders: Kills= Brooke Butler (7) and McKenzie Larate (4); Assists= Anna Cox (17); Digs: Brooke Butler (7) and Addy Christian (7); Ace= Brooke Butler (2)
Won vs Oconee County 25-19, 25-20
Leaders: Kills= Brooke Butler (16) and Makenzie Pitzer (7); Assists= Anna Cox (12); Digs= Addy Christian (18) and Brooke Butler (9); Aces= Addy Christian (2)
Saturday Aug. 15 Play Date @ Brookwood
Won vs. Lakeview Academy 25-16, 25-22
Leaders: Kills= Brooke Butler (5) and Makenzie Pitzer (5); Assists= Anna Cox (12); Aces= Faith Heusser (2) and Brooke Butler (2); Digs= Addy Christian (12); Blocks= Brooke Butler (3)
Won vs. Grayson 25-14, 25-20
Leaders: Kills= Brooke Butler (11), Assists= Anna Cox (19), Aces= Brooke Butler (2) and Presley Hill (2); Digs= Addy Christian (14)
Won vs. Brookwood 25-9, 25-17
Leaders: Kills= Brooke Butler (6) and McKenzie Larate (4); Assists= Anna Cox (10); Aces= Addy Christian (3) and Gracie Christian (2); Digs= Addy Christian (17)
Won vs. Loganville Christian Academy 25-15, 25-13
Leaders: Kills= Brooke Butler (9) and Presley Hill (4); Assists= Anna Cox (15); Aces= Addy Christian (3), Digs= Addy Christian (10); Blocks= McKenzie Larate (2) and Sam Crowley
Tuesday, Aug. 11 vs. Oglethorpe County and Prince Avenue @ Home
Won vs. Oglethorpe County 25-5, 25-17
Won vs. Prince Avenue 25-16, 25-18
The JV team is also undefeated and currently 4-0. They too have not dropped a set this season. According to Goodwin, “We have a lot of young talent on that team, along with some talented returning players, and I expect really great things from them this season and in the years to come.”
Next on the volleyball agenda is another play date event at Athens Academy Saturday, Aug. 22 beginning at 8 a.m. The varsity squad also played a tri-team match with Winder-Barrow and Apalachee this past Tuesday. Results were unavailable at press time.