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Lady Tigers close out season with historic finish
The Dawson County Lady Tigers advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2019 GHSA State Tournament on Oct. 22 with a 3-0 win over Groves High School.

The Dawson County volleyball program is headed to the 2019 State Playoffs with their highest seed in team history after fighting their way into the championship match at the Area 7-AAA Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 5.

Entering the tournament with a regional record of 3 -2, the Lady Tigers started the day matched up with the defending regional champion North Hall Trojans. Playing on their home court, the Lady Trojans absorbed the energy of the crowd and quickly sent Dawson County into the consolation bracket with a two-set victory.

Faced with the prospect of “one and done,” the Lady Tigers came together and turned in back-to-back victories, eliminating both the Lumpkin County Indians and the Cherokee Bluff Bears in straight sets. The wins were characterized as a “total team effort” by head coach Tanya Porter.

“We had a great Saturday in Area play. So proud to be this team’s coach tonight. What a total team effort,” Porter said. “At this point in the year, it is so important that we maintain a “team first” focus.”

After completing the wrap-around trip through the consolation bracket, the Lady Tigers rode a wave of emotion and momentum into the championship game where they, once again, found themselves matched with the Lady Trojans.

North Hall had swept through the competition in their quest to defend their regional title, and the final game was no exception as they won the best of 5 match in three sets to maintain their position atop Area 7-AAA for the second year in a row.

Despite the loss, and after the initial disappointment had worn off, Dawson County celebrated the fact that they had made history by qualifying for the State Playoffs for the second consecutive year, and with the highest seed in the team’s four-year existence.

“We finished the day as Area 7-AAA Runner Up,” Porter said. “That is the highest finish we have had in the Area tournament since we began the program.”

The team was given further cause for celebration when, in a post-game ceremony, seniors Marlie Townley and Chloe Bennett were named to the 7-AAA All-Area team. It was both girls’ second time being presented with the honor as each had mad the team last season.

Dawson County continued the celebration when Bennett was further recognized as the 2019 Area 7-AAA Player of the Year. That announcement marked the second straight season that a Lady Tiger has captured the honor.

“I am extremely proud that our team had the Area Player of the Year for the second straight season,” Porter said. “And that Chloe and Marlie were both recognized for their outstanding skills over the season.”

With a week still remaining in the regular season, based on the GHSA schedule, the final brackets of the post-season will not be announced until later in the week. As the second-place team from Area 7, the Lady Tigers will be facing the third-place team from Area 5 with the first round scheduled to begin on Oct. 19