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VOLLEYBALL: Lady Indians keep playoff run alive

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All year long, Armuchee volleyball coach Clint Decker simply preached consistency. If they could pass the ball well and avoid service errors, he knew the Lady Indians could go far.

His players heeded his lessons Saturday. Now they are a win away from playing for a state championship.

Armuchee played clean volleyball nearly the entire match Saturday in a four-set victory over Westside-Augusta at home in the Class AA state quarterfinals. The win extends the team’s best playoff run in program history to the semifinals.

“We have told this team from the very beginning that getting to the Final Four was possible,” Decker said. “We are not the biggest team in terms of height, but if we can be the best passing and mistake-free team we are still going to have a good chance of winning.”

Armuchee (24-15) won Saturday with set scores of 25-13, 25-17, 23-25, 25-16 over the visiting Lady Patriots to set up a Floyd County semifinal showdown on Wednesday against Coosa, which swept Jordan in its quarterfinal bout Saturday.

Westside appeared a bit rusty to start, and the Lady Indians were more than happy to exploit that.

They won the first set thanks mostly to a 17-5 run, and jumped out to a 16-8 lead in the second set before getting the 25-17 win.

But the Lady Patriots (17-17) struck back in the third set, climbing out of a four-point deficit and winning the set by the smallest of margins, 25-23. Armuchee committed several serving errors, including one on set point.

But the Lady Indians didn’t panic, knowing it just needed to return to the fundamentals that got them there.

“We did not want to give them any kind of belief that they could win,” Decker said. “We just wanted to keep any momentum from happening, and that had to begin with the start of that fourth game. We needed to get back to what was working.”

Taking Decker’s words to heart, Armuchee jumped out to an 8-1 lead and never looked back. Westside stayed determined but never put together a run thanks mostly to kills from Bridgette Jones and BrandyAnn Wacker.

“This is just kind of an unreal feeling, especially coming in my senior year,” Armuchee’s Victoria Reese said. “But at the same time, with all the hard work we’ve done, it’s also a satisfying feeling. It’s a moment that everyone on this team has earned.”

Wednesday’s match will be held at Coosa, the higher-seeded of the two teams, but a time had not yet been determined as of Saturday evening.