With a draw against a top seed in the Class AAA state playoffs, the Dawson County Lady Tigers ended their volleyball season last Wednesday losing in three sets to Westminster on the road.
In only the second year for the program, Dawson advanced to the state playoffs with a region tournament win over rivals Lumpkin County on Oct. 3. The seeding tournament put the Lady Tigers in at a No. 4 seed in the opening round on Oct. 11.
Dawson traveled to Westminster and lost in three sets to a tough Lady Wildcat team: 25-9, 25-14 and 25-13.
“Westminster was the better team, no doubt,” said Coach Tanya Porter. “They are last year’s defending state champion.
“I thought we played well considering the competition. I don’t think we’ve seen an offensive attack quite like we saw. I thought we did great to get where we got and hang with them as well as we did honestly.”
From the opening set, the 5-AAA team who was 10-0 in their region, took control of the court behind the hitting of Gabi Dolan.
A Dawson timeout at 9-2 did not help the Lady Tigers who had four service errors and their blocking game used against them.
The Lady Wildcats easily took set one and again started strong in the next outing.
Porter called a timeout in set two with the Lady Tigers down 12-3. Out of that break, Dawson was able to generate some points and found some success at the net.
Chloe Bennett took advantage of a Westminster hitter and on the next series, Amber Fite dug up Dolan and then got the kill.
With Bennett serving, Roxie Friction picked up a kill off the Westminster block to make it 15-6 still in favor of the Wildcats.
Fite came up with another kill following Dolan’s next two attacks on hard cross court shots.
At 23-10, Bennett picked up a kill going between Westminster blockers and on the following play got her own block on the Wildcat attack.
Brittany Sayler got an ace from the service line but then the Westminster offense went back to work taking the second set 25-14.
In the final set, Dawson opened with a kill by Fricton and Harmony Evans followed up with her own from the left side.
Bennett got two more blocks up front and two errors on the Wildcats put Dawson within three at 10-7.
Dolan then picked up a series of kills at the net and the hitters took advantage of the Lady Tigers’ blocking.
Dawson County ends the season 24-20 overall.
“We won six to seven times as many matches as last year,” Porter said. “I can’t be upset with that. I don’t know many programs that can accomplish that in second year.
“Our seniors were instrumental throughout. We will miss them a ton next year.”
With the end of the second season at DCHS, Porter is encouraged for the future and proud of the accomplishments of the young team.
“I’m really proud of how we did, how we competed. We went through a lot of different scenarios… and most of the time found a way to come out on top. It will help us into the future.”