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PREP VOLLEYBALL: Coosa sweeps competition for a fourth-straight area title

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Success is never guaranteed, but the Coosa volleyball team is trying awfully hard to prove that wrong.

The Lady Eagles rolled off win after win Saturday at the Area 3-AA tournament on their home court on the way to their fourth straight area championship. The victory continues Coosa’s rampant run that included a first-ever trip to the Class AA state championship match last season.

“I’m so proud of what these girls have accomplished today and all season,” Coosa coach Nic Hann said. “We kept our energy up all day long, we didn’t settle and kept wanting to push and push. There were a few times we could’ve fallen apart, but we didn’t.”

Coosa won four straight matches Saturday, including a 25-9, 25-8, 25-12 win over Armuchee in the finals to capture the Area 3-AA title. Armuchee finished in second after winning three matches to set a school record with 22 wins this season. Chattooga and Pepperell finished third and fourth, respectively, to also qualify for the state playoffs.

Coosa senior Taylor Roberts was named the Area 3-AA Player of the Year by the area coaches. She led the team Saturday with 41 kills while also recording 27 digs, 10 assists and nine blocks. Deb Barker led Coosa with 43 digs, while Brinley Smith finished the game with 90 assists. Junior Kasey Thacker also chipped in with 26 kills and 31 digs.

“We know how important these area games are, and we always want to be the best we can be,” Roberts said. “To be the best, you have to continue to beat everybody. I just think our focus is great for that.”

Armuchee (22-15) will host a playoff for the first time since 2012 with the runner-up finish. To get there, the Tribe needed to beat No. 2 seed Chattooga twice, both in three-set battles.

The second match against Chattooga was for a spot in the area finals and was especially tight, with Armuchee winning 25-17, 21-25, 28-26. Both teams had match points in the waning moments of the third set, with Armuchee making just enough plays to pull away.

“We’ve been talking about being mentally tough all season long,” Armuchee coach Clint Decker said. “And today, we showed our mental toughness in one of the biggest matches of the season. So we’re just proud to pull out the win.”

Coosa (44-5) began the day with a 25-13, 25-7 win over Rockmart, and not much changed from there. Of the nine sets the Lady Eagles won, only one of them was by single digits.

The first round of the Class AA state playoffs isn’t until Oct. 17, with 3-AA teams matched up with the top four teams from Area 4-AA.

And as someone who has entered the playoffs as area champion the past three years, Hann does not want to change much.

“Let’s just stay focused,” Hann said. “We need to keep working hard, keep doing what we know how to do and keep controlling what we can control. We do that and we can accomplish our goals.”