It’s been a busy start to the season for the Coosa volleyball team, and after facing a day’s worth of adversity in its own tournament the Lady Eagles have a better idea of the path ahead.
In five days, the two-time state champions built an 11-0 record and fought a trio of Class 4A teams to the limit in Saturday’s Coosa Invitational on the way to the tournament’s title.
The team played three sets against Heritage-Catoosa, Christian Heritage and LaFayette during the course of the day, with the match against the Lady Ramblers coming in the championship and Coosa pulling out the win, 25-11, 25-27, 17-15.
The Lady Eagles had to rally in the second set of their semifinal match against fellow Floyd County squad Armuchee to reach the final.
“There were so many moments that we could have quit, and the girls came together and played as one,” Coosa coach Nic Hann said.
“The first thing this morning we talked about how there are many parts on this team. But if those parts don’t work together, we will fail. They have bought into that all day today. So to see them in this last match, when they could have completely fell apart, to pull back together, says a lot about these girls.”
With a team of seven seniors, most of whom have played in three straight state title matches, Hann knows they have a good base to be successful, but there is still work to be done.
“We’ve come in and been trying a lot of new things at practice, and to see them go in and apply them in the very next match is encouraging,” Hann said. “You know, last year we struggled with that at times. So to see every day want to try a new drill or try a new play, and then to execute it perfectly in a match is awesome.”
While Coosa opened Saturday’s championship match with a 14-4 lead and easily took the first set, a 14-8 lead in the second was wiped away by a 9-1 run from LaFayette. The Lady Eagles recovered to take a 25-24 lead before losing three straight points and the set.
Lifted by an early run to go up 8-4 in the decisive third set, Coosa stayed just ahead of the score and got some timely LaFayette errors to be able to take the final two points.
Coosa seniors Jordan Roberts and Kasey Thacker each had 10 kills and nine digs in the final, while Roberts had nine aces and Thacker had three.
Senior setter Brinley Smith had 27 assists and five digs, while junior libero Makayla Nelson recorded 13 digs and two aces.
The Lady Eagles defeated Alexander and Chapel Hill to open pool play Saturday morning and then overcame a first set loss to defeat Heritage-Catoosa. They entered the tournament’s gold bracket and went three-sets against Christian Heritage before winning and moving on to Armuchee.
The Lady Indians (4-5) got out of pool play with a 2-1 record to earn a spot in the gold bracket. Coach Noel Carper said he was proud of the team’s focus and victories over 7A school’s McEachern and Marietta during the day.
Armuchee’s win over Marietta came in the opening round of the gold bracket to hand the Lady Blue Devils their first loss of the day and set up the semifinal match with Coosa.
Coosa will be on the road this week, starting Monday with a trip to Villa Rica to play the host Lady Wildcats and Northgate. The Lady Eagles will then travel to Hiram on Thursday for matches against the Lady Hornets and North Paulding.
Armuchee will be in Cedartown on Tuesday with matches scheduled against the host Lady Bulldogs and Darlington.