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Volleyball team struggles over long week
Team prepares for regional play
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Olivia Walls, left, and Marlie Townley defend the net against Stephens County High School. - photo by Bob Christian

The Dawson County Lady Tigers volleyball team wrapped up non-regional play last week with a series of eight games in three days.

Starting the week with the home court advantage the Tigers hosted the Stephens County High School Indians and the Chestatee High School War Eagles on Sept. 5 with the first set tipping off against the ladies from Stephens County.

From the opening serve the game featured determined teams on both sides of the net. Juniors Roxie Fricton and Marlie Townley provided a staunch defense of the center while junior Chloe Bennett and sophomore Hannah Waddy provided power from the outsides. The set was a back and forth battle between what appeared to be two evenly matched teams but the solid teamwork and communication among the Lady Tigers allowed them to maintain the edge and pull out the first set win by a score of 25–20.

The second set proved to be an equally tough fight for the Lady Tigers, but once again a unified team effort won the day and the girls took the set 25–21 and the first match of the week by a final score of 2–0.

“After our issues from last week, communication was the focus in practice,” said Head Coach Tanya Porter. “We are going to need just a little bit more energy to take on a good Chestatee team.”

Tip off versus Chestatee came at 7 p.m. and it was immediately apparent that the War Eagles were eager to make up for losing their first match of the night. Much like their first match the Lady Tigers played hard against a tough opponent, but the first set went in Chestatee’s favor. With the momentum swinging to their side of the net the War Eagles made quick work of the Tigers in the second set to take the match victory by a final score of 2–0.

After wrapping up the two matches at home, the Dawson County Tigers traveled to Pickens County High School for two more matches on Sept. 6. Matching up against the home town Dragons in the late game, the Lady Tigers faced off against the East Hall Vikings in the 5 p.m. match-up.

The opening set of the game set the tone for what would be a tough night for the Tigers. With a solid defense and a withering service the Dawson County team threw everything they had at the Vikings and the girls from East Hall met them point for point.

After a tough fight the Tigers managed to eke out the first set victory by a final of 27–25.

From there the East Hall team proved to be too much and overpowered the ladies in two consecutive sets with scores of 25–19 and 25–11 to win the match by a final tally of 2–1.

Having re-grouped for the second match of the evening, the Lady Tigers took to the court behind the determined defense of Fricton. With kill after kill she thwarted the efforts of the Pickens County Dragons and led the Tigers to a straight set match victory by the scores of 25–8 and 25–14 to give the Tigers a well-earned win to end their night.

“Roxie had very good placement on the ball tonight,” Porter said. “She was making good decisions and putting the ball in some really good spots.”

Saturday morning dawned to find the Lady Tigers headed to the campus of the East Jackson Eagles in Commerce for a four-game tournament that marked the end of non-regional play.

With match-ups throughout the day against the Eagles, the Forsyth Central Bulldogs, the Decatur Bulldogs, and the Falcons of Flowery Branch, it was going to be a demanding and challenging day on the courts for the Dawson County Tigers.

Unfortunately, the combination of a long week and a tough travel schedule took its toll on the Lady Tigers and they were plagued by the passing errors and communication issues that have cropped up now and again for the entire season.

Facing the Eagles in their first match of the day, the team got off to a slow start and didn’t manage to recover in time to have an impact in the first set and the Lady Tigers opened the day with a 25–15 loss. Fighting hard through the second set Dawson County battled out a tough win by the score of 27–25, but the effort took what remained of the team’s energy and the final set went to the Eagles giving them the three-set victory in the match.

The troubles continued to mount for the Tigers as they were never able to bring themselves back together over the course of the day, and as Saturday’s games came to a close they found themselves on the losing side of all three of the remaining matches of the day to head back to Dawsonville having gone 0 and 4 for the tournament.

“Overall, it was a good day against good competition,” Porter said. “I'm hoping that the games on Saturday helped to prepare the team for region play which will begin on Tuesday in Fannin.”

The team played matches in Fannin County on Sept. 11 against the Fannin County Rebels and the East Hall Vikings. Results were not available as of press time.