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VOLLEYBALL: A resilient night helps Dawson stay near the top of its region
The Lady Tigers celebrate after winning a point against rivals White County. - photo by Rio White

Early in the second of two final regular season home matches for the Dawson County volleyball team, the Lady Tigers were locked in a tight battle with region 7-AAA foes White County.

The hosts knew they needed to push through the opening set against the Lady Warriors for multiple reasons — they had dropped five consecutive matches, fell short in an extended first set against Wesleyan earlier that night and needed a spark of momentum to help carry them into the region tournament. 

Facing the pressure of a first set where neither team led by more than four points, the Lady Tigers found a way to muscle past and eventually defeat a White County team that was looking to move past Dawson for second place in the region.

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"This is the most momentum-filled sport I’ve ever been a part of,” head coach Tanya Porter said. “It’s a matter of riding through when you’re down…and not letting those lows swallow you. I thought they did a really good job even when the momentum shifted several times. We were able to come back out on the other side.”

Coming into the home finales, the Lady Tigers had run into some obstacles in what had been a mostly smooth season. Facing a string of 6A sides following the first batch of region matches, Dawson lost six of seven before falling victim to region leaders Wesleyan 25-27, 19-25.

The Lady Wolves came out strong but allowed Dawson to remain within striking distance. The hosts had a few chances to take the lead but only got as far as extending the first set. Wesleyan would get out to a larger lead in the second set before holding off a late charge by Dawson.

With White County beckoning, Porter and her squad knew exactly what was at stake. The Lady Tigers and Lady Warriors had faced twice already, splitting the two meetings.

Both were also fighting to stay within reach of Wesleyan at the top of the region. 

But through improved execution and a decrease in unforced errors, Dawson won the first set 25-23. The second set — despite a wider margin — proved to be just as frantic.

After getting out to an 18-8 lead, the Lady Tigers looked set for a much-needed victory.

White County had other ideas and proceeded to cut their deficit in half at a 20-15 score later in the set. Three straight points by Dawson looked like the dagger until the Lady Warriors responded in kind.

Eventually, the Lady Tigers closed out the set 25-20 to head into the final two region matches with that precious momentum.

As of the end of those matches, Dawson sits second in the region with an 8-2 record in 7-AAA and a 21-13 overall record. Wesleyan is first with a 9-1 mark.

The Lady Tigers are ahead of White County by virtue of leading the season series.

Dawson has four total matches remaining in the regular season, facing Pickens and host Wesleyan on Tuesday, Oct. 4, before playing two non-region matches against Union County and Providence Christian Academy the next day.