The Dawson County Lady Tigers volleyball team finished up regular season play last week with one match win and two losses before heading into the region tournament.
On Sept. 26, the team traveled to Lumpkin County to face Lumpkin and Union County in a tri-match.
Against the Lady Indians, the Lady Tigers lost in two sets: 20-25, 20-25.
“It was a disaster before we ever got there,” said Coach Tanya Porter. “There was a miscommunication between their coach and I and we had two different start times on each of our schedules so we were scattered from the beginning.
“The girls seemed out of sorts from the beginning. I felt like part of it was due to being used to start a game that we thought was at 6 against Union to starting at 5 against a much tougher Lumpkin.”
Lumpkin went on an early run in the first set taking a 7-1 opening lead off aces and multiple Dawson hitting errors. A timeout by Porter did little to slow the Lumpkin advance.
A number of Indian hitting errors opened the door for the Lady Tigers before Brittany Sayler’s serving with back-to-back aces brought them to within four.
Amber Fite picked up a back-to-back kills to prompt a Lumpkin timeout at 21-19, but Dawson hitting errors down the stretch sealed the first set.
Lumpkin started the second set in much the same way as the first, jumping out to an early 6-2 lead.
After an ace at point 15 for Lumpkin, Fite’s solid serving matched with Roxie Fricton’s net play pulled the Lady Tigers within one.
The Lady Indians fought back with a kill and block at the net.
Nothing went Dawson’s way, including a couple of questionable calls from up top.
In the second match of the night, the Lady Tigers easily handled Union, 25-13 and 25-18.
In set one, Fite served five aces in a row. Sayler would also serve five aces in her eight straight serves a couple of rotations later.
Fite also opened the second set with an onslaught of serves, scoring five including two aces.
Fricton added five from the service line as well.
Union was able to pick up a stretch of points mid set courtesy of several service errors and a passing error by the Lady Tigers.
Fite and Harmony Evans picked up kills down the stretch on the way to the two set win.
The Lady Tigers hosted Greater Atlanta Christian on Sept. 27 for a makeup match and lost in two sets: 12-25, 18-25.
Despite the loss, Porter was pleased with the effort.
“We hosted GAC for our last home match and we played great,” she said. “I think the girls had an awesome demeanor going into that match. They were relaxed and upbeat. And they just played really well. Although we obviously didn’t pull out a win, it was probably one of our better matches of the season.”
Porter said the play was great because the communication was great both individually and as a team.
GAC finished the season second in the region and are the No. 4 ranked team in the state in AAA.
“I was very proud that our girls showed such a valiant effort against them,” she said.
The week put Dawson at 21-17 on the season and 1-5 in region play and a No. 6 seed.
The region tournament opened on Oct. 3 at GAC where the Lady Tigers played East Hall, but results were not available as of press time. The tournament is double elimination.
Seeding for the state tournament will take place with matches at North Hall on Oct. 5.
“If we were to win against East Hall, it would change things a little, but either way we will have to go through Lumpkin or Fannin to get a chance for state,” Porter said.
“I am very happy with where the girls are currently,” she said. “They are excited about their success and the opportunity that we have coming up this week. We have done well this season in a very tough region where four of our seven teams are ranked among the top 10 in the sate. Making a state appearance would be icing on the cake for these girls who have worked so hard to usher in a new program and make it as successful as it has been.”
UPDATE: On Oct. 3 the Lady Tigers faced East Hall and lost in two sets: 16-25 and 21-25 before moving to the loser's bracket of the region tournament.
The team took on Union County and won handily in two sets behind the serving of Five and Fricton, winning 25-10 in both sets.
The final match in the region tournament determined the last spot for reaching state play. Dawson defeated Lumpkin in three sets: 25-23, 24-26, 25-11.
The decisive final set saw Five with five aces while serving for 15 of the Lady Tigers' 25 points.
The team will travel to North Hall on Oct. 5 for a tournament to determine state seeding, according to Porter.
Check next week’s Dawson County News for full results.