The Alexander volleyball ball team advanced to the 5A State Tournament Saturday afternoon by claiming the No. 4 seed in the Region 5-AAAAA tournament, hosted at Allatoona High School.
The Lady Cougars opened the evening with a three set victory against Villa Rica. AHS lost the first game, 24-26, before coming back to take the next two games, 25-21 and 25-12.
In the fourth seed game, Alexander defeated cross-town rival, New Manchester High School, in straight sets, 25-12 and 26-24.
Playing for a chance to get the third seed in the third match of the day, with no break in between, the Lady Cougars lost to Hiram in straight sets, 21-25 and 24-26.
“Hiram had a little bit of a break before the game and we really did not have one,” said AHS coach Rikki-Lynn Baxter. “All of our games were long today and we just did not have anything left.”
Baxter was thrilled to win the fourth seed game over New Manchester so her girls will have a shot to play in the state playoffs. The Lady Cougars were able to clinch a spot despite being seeded only seventh going into the region tourney.
“We are really exited,” Baxter said. “When we came in we knew we had to fight extra hard. We had to win five of our six games in the tournament to make it and had to beat New Manchester to clinch.”
Standing out on the final day of the tourney were Hannah West, Reece Blackley. Kelsey Ozari and Jada Burns.
West showed leadership on the court and made some good plays at the net. Blackley also played well at the net. Ozari was able to perform well as the setter despite having to play three games in a row. Burns did a good job of finding the holes in the defense, especially against Hiram.
“We all played well, and our passes were good,” Baxter said. “Our communication was key all day and they were able to keep a positive attitude.”
Baxter knows that as the fourth seed, the Lady Cougars will have their work cut out for them in the first round on Thursday, against a No. 1 seed.
“Whenever you go against someone you have not seen before, it is nerve wracking,” Baxter said. “But if we play like we have in this tournament, then we are confident we are going to put up a pretty good fight.”
The 2014 volleyball season came to an end for the Lady Jaguars Saturday morning. New Manchester would fall to a familiar foe, Alexander High School, in a game that decided which team would make the state playoffs.
Due to bad timing with SAT testing, the Lady Jags had only seven players and it showed in the score. Despite the loss, New Manchester coach, Mistie Mayfield felt the team played well and added that she was very proud of their performance.
“Overall the girls improved and started to really play together as a team no matter what position they were asked to play,” Mayfield said. “I believe there is always room for improvement and I believe if the girls keep working and practicing, they will be even stronger next season.”