Lady Tro­jans’ run ends in state semi­fi­nals

The Catoosa County News - - SPORTS - By Scott Herpst sherpst@npco.com

The Gor­don Lee High School vol­ley­ball team waited nearly two decades for their first-ever state Fi­nal Four match.

Un­for­tu­nately, they’ll have to wait just a bit longer for their first-ever state cham­pi­onship match.

Armed with a very young squad that fea­tured just one se­nior, the Lady Tro­jans’ run in the 2018 Class AA/A Pub­lic School state tour­na­ment came to an end at Coosa High School last Tues­day night as the vet­eran Lady Ea­gles showed off their cham­pi­onship pedi­gree with a 25-20, 25-15, 25-16 sweep.

Fea­tur­ing five ex­pe­ri­enced se­niors on its ros­ter, Coosa - a 2015 Elite Eight par­tic­i­pant, the 2016 Class AA state run­ner-up and the 2017 Class AA cham­pion - was able to with­stand Gor­don Lee’s chal­lenge while dis­play­ing some im­pres­sive skills and hus­tle in front of a large and loud crowd at the Coosa High gym­na­sium.

“We def­i­nitely ran into a bet­ter team,” Coach Adam Crow­ley stated. “They had a lot of good hit­ters and they were just bet­ter than us tonight. We played our hearts out and the bet­ter team won, but we know we had a bunch of young kids this year. We are def­i­nitely go­ing to im­prove and try to get to the (state) fi­nals next year.”

A 6-0 run in the first set gave Coosa a 12-7 lead. Gor­don Lee would rally to pull back within two points of the lead at 13-11, but the Lady Ea­gles would score five of the next six points to push the lead back out to six.

Three straight points by the Lady Tro­jans would cut the deficit in half, but the vis­i­tors would never get any closer as a fi­nal push shot by Jor­dan Roberts found an open­ing to end the first set.

Gor­don Lee got out to a 4-1 lead in the sec­ond set, only to see Coosa reel off nine of the next 11 points, in­clud­ing a very for­tu­itous bounce off the net, to take a 10-6 lead and force Gor­don Lee to call a time­out.

The Lady Tro­jans would come out of the break and slice the gap down to 11-8, but Coosa would go on an 8-0 run that saw them win long ral­lies, seem­ingly get to ev­ery loose ball, con­vert on block at­tempts and catch ev­ery pos­si­ble break, es­pe­cially at the net. One fi­nal ace ended the set and gave the Lady Ea­gles a com­mand­ing 2-0 lead in the best-of-five match.

Gor­don Lee came out fo­cused in a do-or-die third set and opened up a 5-1 ad­van­tage, forc­ing Coosa to call a time­out. The Lady Tro­jans went on to ex­tend the lead to 10-5 when the home team would start to get on track.

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