The Dawson County varsity volleyball team picked up five wins and two losses in a busy week that Coach Tanya Porter said gave the team growth opportunities that they will need as the season progresses.
On Aug. 22 the Lady Tigers hosted Habersham Central and White County for a tri-match.
Dawson lost in two sets to Habersham but were able to defeat the Lady Warriors in two.
The Lady Raiders started strong in the first set picking up a kill on a Dawson over pass before two un-returnable serves and then a block against Tiger hitters.
A Dawson timeout at 5-0 slowed the momentum long enough for a Roxie Fricton ace, but Habshersham would side out again quickly with a kill and more tough serving.
“I don’t know what was going on with us the first game but we were not clicking,” said Coach Tanya Porter. “We just couldn't get it together, but I think it woke us up. I think it was necessary. It helped us re-focus for game two.
“That was something we focused on this week, just staying even—not too high, not too low. I thought we did a better job of that.”
Habersham hitters found continued success at the net. Chloe Bennett was able to put up a block to regain the serve, but the Dawson could not sustain it.
Kati Brady found success at the service line with Friction getting a kill on the front and Dawson taking advantage of Habersham hitting errors.
The Lady Raiders went on to a 25-15 final in set one.
In the second, the Lady Tigers came out fired up with Amber Fite acing early serves and Fite and Bennett finding points up front. Setter Brittany Sayler also recorded a kill with some misdirection and a well-placed dink.
“She is a floor leader and her role is essential,” Porter said about Sayler.
With the score 16-15 in favor of Habersham, Dawson called a time and Fite put down the next ball.
It was a close contest down to the final stretch, but Habersham pulled out a 26-24 win for the match.
“I was proud how they rebounded in the second game and came back and regrouped and got focused,” Porter said. “I literally came to the sideline and said, ‘there is nothing that I need to say. You girls know the problems and you know how to fix them.’”
Habersham defeated White County in two sets during the break and Dawson seemed renewed for the final match of the night with the Lady Warriors.
The Lady Tigers cut down on errors across the board with only 26 in the White County contest.
Fricton started the first set with a kill and Fite picked up back-to-back aces. Friction had six kills in the match while Fite recorded five of the eight aces for the team.
At 11-3, White County called a timeout and Dawson went right back to work with Harmony Evans serving two aces after a Warrior hitting error.
Fricton and Fite had a massive double block on the heels of a Bennett kill and ace.
Savannah Kennedy and Brady consistently dug up attacks from the Lady Warriors.
Fite was able to put two more down prior to another time out and then served out the game with two aces. Dawson won 25-12.
White County regrouped and put up more of a fight in the second set, but Dawson won 25-19.
Evans opened the second with a kill.
Fricton added her own and Evans came up with a score on a block.
Two more Fricton kills and two more Fite aces had the Lady Tigers up 14-8.
Kennedy was able to recover a ball that looked out of control and took Sayler out of setting. The result was another Bennett kill.
The final two points of the match came on another Evans kill and Fite ace.
“That is one of the first things the girls said when we came off after beating them in two, ‘that is so cool, they were here last summer helping us learn how to play the game and then one year later we beat them.’ They were super pumped about that,” Porter said.
On Aug. 24, the Lady Tigers were scheduled to travel to Rabun and play Rabun Gap as well as Rabun County, but the matches were cancelled.
Dawson County traveled to Fannin County High School on Aug. 26 for a tournament where they took on Gilmer, Adairesville, Rabun, Pickens and Lumpkin.
The team played 12 sets in eight hours.
“It was a great day for our program,” Porter said. “We were put in several situations that we needed to face to grow.”
On two occasions the team was down one set to nothing and came back.
“That will help us later in the season,” she said. “It helped our endurance to play so many matches in one day, but in the end we just ran out of gas.
Dawson won the first match against Gilmer in two sets, 25-8 and 25-23.
Against Adairesville, the Lady Tigers again won in two: 25-13 and 25-11.
Dawson County then face Rabun and was able to overcome the early deficit. The team lost a tight first set, 26-24 before going on to win the next two 25-12 and 15-8.
The team went on to face Pickens County and picked up a win in three sets. The Lady Tigers lost the first 25-16 and then handily won the second 25-7 and the final 15-13.
The day ended in the semifinals when Dawson lost to Lumpkin County in two sets, 25-23 and 25-20.
“We made mistakes in the final game that were just clearly lack of physical endurance,” Porter said. “Hitting errors that came from just not being able to jump and tired arms, serving errors that were from fatigue and passing errors that were the result of not moving our feet fast enough.
But all in all it was a very productive day for us.”
The wins take the Lady Tigers to 11-7 overall. The team travels to Pickens to play Pickens and North Murray starting at 6 p.m. on Aug. 31.