The Dawson County High School volleyball team entered the 7-AAA area tournament as the second ranked team on Saturday, Oct. 13, and after a tough, three-set fight the Lady Tigers opened the day with a 2-1 victory over a determined team from East Hall and secured their spot in the state tournament.
After a first round bye the Lady Tigers started their tournament with the opening serve against the East Hall Vikings, and the first set almost immediately got away from the team as the Vikings broke serve to open an early lead that they quickly moved to a 25–16 final score.
The second set opened with another burst of scoring from the Vikings and the Lady Tigers quickly found themselves in a hole once more. Led by an outstanding performance from sophomore Oliva Walls, who was able to set any ball perfectly for her teammates to smash into the East Hall defense, Dawson County came from behind to take the second set on the winning side of 25–16.
Junior Chloe Bennett secured four points on the opening serve of the third set and the Lady Tigers cruised to a large early lead and looked poised to win the match outright. A late set surge that featured the Vikings putting up 9 consecutive points kept everybody on edge, but the team held on to their lead and closed out the set with a tally of 25–18.
The three-set victory ensured the Dawson County Tigers at least the fourth seed for the state tournament and provided them the opportunity to improve their position as they advanced to the third round of the regional tournament to face the top-seeded North Hall Trojans.
From the opening serve North Hall’s defense, led by junior Grace Hollifield, dominated the center of the net and prevented the Lady Tigers from gathering any momentum during the opening set which was quickly won by North Hall with a final score of 25–12.
The Trojan offense demonstrated a familiarity with the court that comes from home-field advantage and placed their serves and drives just out of reach of the Tigers throughout the second set. Hollifield continued to own the net leading to another rapid set for the Trojans to secure the match in their favor in two sets.
The loss moved the Lady Tigers into the consolation game in control of their own destiny as they faced off with the East Hall Vikings for a second time on the day with each team’s tournament future on the line.
Having fought all the way back around the bracket from their first-round loss, the East Hall Vikings came out on fire and took quick advantage of the Lady Tigers (who seemed to be still suffering the effects of their second-round loss) to grab a 25–10 first set victory.
A re-energized Dawson County unit fought hard in the second set, but Vikings continued to ride their momentum and held on to an early lead to win the set 25–20 and eliminated the Dawson County Tigers from the regional tournament in fourth place overall.
The 7-AAA Area tournament ended with the North Hall Trojans winning it all on their home court with a 3–-1 victory over the East Hall Vikings.
Dawson County will next see action when they take on Murray County in the first round of the state tournament on Oct. 20 in Calhoun.