In the third game of the night on Wednesday, the Dawson County Lady Tigers lost to the White County Warriors, eliminating the team from the region tournament and ending their season.
“I hate that it ended this way,” Head Coach Tanya Porter said after the game. “I hate that they had so much adversity along the way. I hope they use what they learned in life sometime and become better women because of it.”
The Lady Tigers went into the double-elimination area tournament as the bottom seed and played #2 Cherokee Bluff in their first match. After losing the first match in a best-of-three series, the Lady Tigers refused to give up. Down 10-6 in match two, three aces in a row by Makale Everett brought momentum back to the team. The Lady Tigers held the lead until the Cherokee Bluff coach called a time-out down 21-16.
Cherokee Bluff went on a 8-0 run following the time-out and won match two 25-23, sending the Lady Tigers to a must-win game against #6 West Hall.
Match one went to the Lady Tigers 25-12. Meghan Roche led the match with 4 kills with three of those on three straight points.
The Lady Tigers started match two slow and could never regain a steady handle. They were down by 10 multiple times throughout the match and lost 25-14.
The third match tiebreaker only went to 15 points. The Lady Tigers got an early 6-2 lead, but it quickly diminished. With West Hall leading the game 11-10, Haylie Selzer took control of the game and scored three of the last four points for the Lady Tigers on kills. Dawson County took the tiebreaker away from West Hall, winning 15-13 and went straight into another must-win match against White County.
White County finished the regular season with the best overall record in the area. They hosted the tournament and their team contained the Area Player of the Year.
In the most important game of the season, the Lady Tigers kept it close, only behind 7-6 at one point. However, the Warriors proved in match one why they were the number one seed, and finished the Lady Tigers 25-9.
The Lady Tigers battled injuries all season and the area tournament was no different. Selzer left a late tournament match with an ankle injury and was unable to come back into the game. Jesse Mann injured her shoulder after the first game against Cherokee Bluff and Coach Porter confirmed Madisann Yerdon played through an ankle injury throughout the entire area tournament.
“That’s what you want as a coach,” Porter said. “Girls with a ton of heart and want to compete and want to win. When you have that, most everything else takes care of itself.”
Bruised and banged up, the Lady Tigers refused to give up. Down 18-9, the Lady Tigers went on a 7-2 run, with kills from Roche, Everett and Yerdon to bring the deficit to only four points.
However, the comeback proved to be too-little too-late and the Lady Tigers lost match two 25-18, ending their season.
Coach Porter and the Lady Tigers said good-bye to their season and to their three seniors: Selzer, Everett and Olivia Walls.
“We had a lot of high hopes for this group,” Porter said. “They’re a special group of girls. When you have a group of girls that play with so much heart, heart will come out over skill most of the time. I really thought that would be the case tonight coming into this.”