With the prep volleyball season just getting started, the Model and Armuchee teams look to be benefiting from a fresh start.
The two teams met Thursday at Armuchee as new Lady Indians varsity coach Noel Carper welcomed Model and Gordon Central for a tri-match.
Carper guided Armuchee to a straight-set win over Gordon Central for the Lady Indians' first win of the season as the team topped the Lady Warriors 25-11, 25-15.
Meanwhile, what looks to be a revived Model team was perfect on the day as it defeated Gordon Central 25-12, 25-17, and Armuchee 25-20, 25-22.
The wins improved the Lady Blue Devils to 3-3 on the season as the team is working to bounce back after going 12-28 last season and exiting the state playoffs in the first round.
“We’re definitely in a good spot, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement,” Model head coach Kendall Roberts said. “We’ve been really talking with these girls about striving for excellence and getting better every single time they step on the floor. They’re truly doing that right now.”
While the games didn’t count toward the area standings, Area 6-AA/A Public members Model and Armuchee played with an energy that speaks to the rivalry between the two schools.
The teams traded points back-and-forth in the set of their match before senior outside hitter Emma Dickinson went on a run that included three aces to give the Lady Blue Devils a 23-15 lead. The Lady Indians tried to rally back, but Model was able to hang on for the win.
Roberts said her team has been especially focused on serving as they were getting ready for the season. The worked seemed to pay off as junior outside hitter Neely Brownlow rattled off four straight aces to open the first set against Gordon Central. She finished with six on the day.
“That’s something we’ve struggled with in the past,” Roberts said. “We’ve really stressed that a lot in practice. We had several serve errors, but they’re fewer and far between as the season begins to progress.”
Armuchee (1-3) also had success in serving against its opponents, totaling 11 aces on the day, which included six from senior Grace Stanley.
Carper, who was a longtime assistant volleyball coach at Shorter University before coming to Armuchee to coach the Lady Indians, said he’s impressed with the team so far and expects to continue to improve as the season progresses.
“We still have some things to work on,” Carper said. “There’s some fundamental things we have to work on. This is a short season. It just seems like it’s on you really fast. They come in and they’re rusty and you don’t have much time to get going. This is good. I’m not worried about winning right now. I want us to see what we need to work on.”
Carper said that while he’s not as familiar with how the rivals usually interact, he said he hopes his team keeps up the intensity they showed against the Lady Blue Devils.
“The girls have been telling me this is maybe one of the strongest rivalries in the county,” Carper said. “You always worry if they’re going to get fired up, but they look good. I want them to be able to do that regardless of who they are.”
Armuchee will play in the Coosa Invitational tournament Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. at Coosa High School. Model will travel to Woodland on Tuesday.