Even with their next matches featuring less familiar opponents, four Floyd County volleyball teams are putting themselves under the microscope as they get ready for the start of the GHSA state volleyball playoffs.
It all begins Saturday with No. 1 Coosa, No. 5 Pepperell, No. 7 Model and No. 8 Armuchee all competing in at least the first round of the Class A/AA Public bracket after finishing in that order in the Area 6-A/AA Public tournament last weekend.
Coosa coach Nic Hann said his team has been so focused on themselves, they haven’t even asked anything about who they’re playing.
“The girls have pointed out things we need to do to improve on as we get into state,” Hann said. “Right now, we know there are some things we need to get cleaned up and get a little bit tighter on. They haven’t even mentioned their opponent. They’ve learned over the past couple of years that we’ve got to focus on us and get to that elite level. That’s what they’re focused on right now.”
The Lady Eagles are trying to win their third straight state title after recently winning their sixth straight area championship, but Hann realizes anything can happen in the playoffs.
“The girls understand anybody can beat anybody on any given day,” Hann said. “They’ve seen that a few times this season. We had some matches we should’ve won that we didn’t. Everyone is 0-0, and one loss and you’re done. All it takes is one slip up and the season is over.”
As the No. 1 seed in its section of the bracket, Coosa (45-7) will host its best-of-five first-round matchup against Oglethorpe County on Saturday at noon. Davidson Fine Arts and Lamar County will also be at Coosa to play their first-round match.
Armuchee coach Noel Carper and the Lady Indians (24-20) take the area’s No. 4 seed into their matchup against top-seeded Rabun County, and Carper says his team’s focus has been up and down throughout the season, but needs to be at its peak come Saturday.
“We don’t know too much about Rabun County, but I don’t care about Rabun County. I care about us,” Carper said. “We’ve had a lot of matches this year where I expected us to win and we didn’t. The ability is there, and the skill level is good. It’s just a question of whether the focus and the energy is there for all of them at one time.”
Area runner-up Pepperell (27-14) will travel to Central-Talbotton to take on Lake Oconee Academy. Coach Lee Donahue said he wants his team to clean up some things from the area tournament as the Lady Dragons are set to face an unfamiliar opponent.
“It’s hard to tell once you get out of Northwest Georgia,” Donahue said. “We’re just trying to focus on being consistent. We’ve gone through this season against some really good teams, so we’re trying to focus on playing the best we can no matter who we’re playing and just playing the best we can at all times.”
Model (24-17) defeated rival Armuchee to finish third in the area tournament and will take on No. 2 seed Union County at Harlem High School near Augusta. The Lady Blue Devils have a chance to make school history if they can get a win Saturday as no Model team has made it past the first round of the state playoffs.
“We’ve got a really good matchup,” Model coach Kendall Roberts said. “The girls have stayed focused. They’ve set a goal for the first round and they’re excited to play. We’ve had a great week of practice, we’re prepared, and we’ve watched film, so we’re going in ready to battle and striving for a win.”