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VOLLEYBALL: As regular season winds down, Lady Tigers in position for big postseason
Coach Porter leads the team out of a huddle during one of their Senior Night matches. The team’s unity has played a role in its success. - photo by Rio White

For the second consecutive season, the Dawson County volleyball team has reached the 20-win mark, this time with several matches still to play.

Head coach Tanya Porter and the Lady Tigers have put together a season defined by evolving roles on offense and defense —  with the team’s consistency improving each week. 

Perhaps most importantly, the team’s tightly-knit group of players has helped shape its identity into a side that frequently competes well against teams in higher classifications.

Right out of the gate, 3A Dawson faced 7A Forsyth Central before going up against 2021 state semifinalist North Forsyth.

While those two matches resulted in losses, wins against 7A West Forsyth and 6A Grovetown have shown the well-rounded skill set of the Lady Tigers.

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Porter applauds her team's efforts during a match earlier this season. The Lady Tigers have competed against several teams of higher classifications. - photo by Rio White

The team now finds itself in a tight battle at the top of Area 7-3A, with Dawson just behind area newcomers Wesleyan and rivals White County.

Both of those teams will be traveling to the Ford Phillips Center next Tuesday, Sept. 27, to face Dawson and each other in a crucial tri-match. 

With those three sides having separated themselves from the rest of Area 7, Tuesday night’s matches will determine who is at the top of the standings with just a handful of games left in the regular season. 

The Lady Tigers will seek to use those matches to gain momentum heading into the Area Tournament and a potential run in the State Tournament. 

This season’s efforts from the team have seen young and experienced players alike make their marks. 

Porter encourages her team during a tight first set against Gilmer County earlier this season. Resiliency will be important in the upcoming games against Wesleyan and White County. - photo by Rio White

While the offense has once again centered around senior Abby Felkai, plenty of others have stepped up to contribute to the team’s success.

Fellow seniors Abby Clouser and Kirklyn Porter have become the two main setters this season, using their quick instincts to help guide the ball toward the hitters. Senior Skyler Murphy has also played an increasing role as a setter. 

Though opposing teams have become familiar with Felkai’s talents over the past two seasons, the skills of outside hitters Maggie Allen and Megan Roche have given the Lady Tigers a formidable trio of offensive options. 

Defensively, senior libero Emerald Sallee has often been tasked with providing stability at the back, with her leaps and dives helping prevent the Lady Tigers from giving up quick points. 

Freshman Hope Selzer has also gained valuable time in a defensive role, showing her ability to complete digs on a consistent basis.

Porter and sophomore Eva Bishop have also been important defensive assets at the net. 

The Lady Tigers will host Wesleyan and White County at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. next Tuesday. Dawson and White County have split their previous two meetings this season while Dawson and Wesleyan have yet to meet.