An unbelievable run for Cedartown volleyball came to an end over the weekend.
The Lady Bulldogs, who won their first playoff match in recent memory last week, lost in the Sweet 16 at Jefferson on Saturday. Despite the loss to the veteran Lady Dragons, Cedartown made incredible strides in their first season under head coach John Sheffield.
Sheffield, along with assistant coach Nancy Flores, guided CHS to the three-seed out of Area 7-4A. After upsetting eventual four-seed Ridgeland in the area tournament, Cedartown traveled to Druid Hills in the first-round of the playoffs.
The Lady Red Devils, the runner-ups out of Area 2, were a tough opponent to face in the first round.
“Right when you walk into the gym, you see how tall the Druid Hills girls are,” Sheffield said. “They were a very athletic team that started playing at a high level.”
Druid Hills raced out to a 6-1 lead in the first set before Cedartown called a timeout.
“You hate to call a timeout that early, but I could tell that we were just nervous,” Sheffield said. “I was able to calm their nerves and they battled back to win the first set.”
The Lady Bulldogs won 25-18, 25-21, 25-16 to take the three-set victory in DeKalb County. Sheffield credited Cedartown’s talented area opponents as a reason why they were able to comeback against the Lady Red Devils.
“I straight up told them that they will not serve us anything better than some of the servers we got in area play,” Sheffield said. “I knew they’d have a shot if they came out and played Cedartown volleyball. I’m very proud of them for getting that big win.”
After picking up the program-defining upset in the first-round, the Cedartown faithful were hoping they could keep the magic going over the weekend as the Lady Bulldogs competed in the Sweet 16.
“I know it is going to be tough,” Sheffield said the night before the match. “I didn’t sugarcoat it. I told them that they’re the one-seed, you’re the three-seed, you’re not expected to win this game. We like being the underdog, and we’ll give it our best shot.”
Unfortunately, Jefferson took down Cedartown in three sets (25-11, 25-20, 25-14) to end their season on Saturday. The Lady Bulldogs competed well against the Lady Dragons, but could not get the breaks they needed in the Sweet 16 loss.
Sheffield credited numerous players for their efforts in the playoffs.
“Lindsey Lee, Mary Avis Casey, Shania Stowe, and Marycruz Navarro for keeping composed no matter what occurred,” Sheffield said. “Kimberly Otero killed the ball and Zarriah Wofford’s athleticism was a huge part of our tournament and playoff run. Kendal Pace, only a freshman, dominated the middle against Druid Hills as well.”
The Lady Bulldogs went 23-20-1 with their first playoff appearance in half a decade. Following their first-round victory and their performance, albeit in a loss, against Jefferson, it is easy to see why fans should be excited for the future of Cedartown volleyball.