Lady Jackets continue strong start, sweep home tri-match
The Calhoun Lady Jackets have gotten off to an incredible start to the 2018 season, including racking up a 15-1 record and winning both the At The Rock Tournament (Rockmart High) and the Rally on the Ridge Tournament (Fannin County). But before Tuesday, they hadn’t gotten a chance to display their skills on their home court yet so they took full advantage of it when the time came.
The Lady Jackets welcomed Coahulla Creek and Model to their gym on Tuesday for their first home matches of the season and were ready to put on a show for their home fans as they rolled to two solid wins over the non-area opponents. Calhoun (171) completely dominated the first match of the night with a two-set win (25-3, 25-1) over the Lady Colts and then recovered from a bit of a slow start in the nightcap to earn another two-set victory (25-18, 25-16) over Model.
Calhoun coach Randy Rice said it was a good night overall for his team and he was pleased with their performance to defend their home court.
“The girls were excited to be at home that’s for sure,” said Rice. “I was concerned a little about how they would react or be too excited, but they came out ready and played some really good volleyball as a team. I was very pleased with how we played in that match.
“We started a little slow in the match against Model. I think we got a little cocky, but once we got settled down, we played well. We talk about being selfless, not selfish. When we play selfless, we are a really good team.”
Leading the way in the stats for the Lady Jackets was the trio of Anna George, Erin Kelly and Nena Marcus. George contributed 13 kills and four blocks as a force at the net, Kelly had a strong night serving with eight aces and Marcus put several points away with eight kills.
Also contributed to the pair of victories for Calhoun was Ashlyn Brzozoski with four aces, Emma Kate Smith with three aces, two kills, one block and once dig, Sophie Stewart with five kills and one ace, Erin Paul with three aces and Emma Ledford with one ace.
The Lady Jackets have seemed to carry over the momentum they built last season when they won the Area 1-AAA title and advanced to the Class AAA Elite Eight for the first time in program history. Rice said his team has showed their strength early this season against some solid competition.
“We’re 17-1 and we’ve been beating some good teams,” said Rice. “We’ve played East Paulding and Fannin County and some other solid teams and have performed to the level we needed to in order to have success. We’re still working on correcting small mistakes to get better, but we’re really playing well as a team right. It’s actually a little scary for me as a coach to be playing as well as we are right now because I don’t want this to be the best we play this season. I’ve told the girls that it’s great to get off to a good start like this, but what matters most is how we play in October.”
Rice said a big part of the team’s early success has been attributed to the job the team leaders have done and also the team camp they attended over the summer.
“It’s been my motto about all my teams that we will be as good as our leadership demands,” said Rice. “Anna George has really stepped up as a leader this year, and Emma Kate Smith and Erin Kelly have also done a great job showing the girls what is expected. We also had a great summer camp at the University of Alabama. They treated us very well, and I think our girls really improved from being there and facing tough competition.
“One of the things I worry about with this team sometimes is concentration. When we’re focused and each individual is doing their job on the court, we are a very good team. We’ve just got to keep doing that to have more success.”
The Lady Jackets were back at home on Thursday to host Pepperell and Ringgold for a tri-match. (For details on that match, see Wednesday’s Calhoun Times.) They will visit Haralson County next Thursday at 6 p.m. and then travel to Gatlinburg, Tenn. To compete in the Rocky Top Classic on Sept. 7-8.
Calhoun’s Anna George goes up for a kill at the net during her team’s match against Coahulla Creek.
Calhoun’s Ashlyn Brzozoski serves during the Lady Jackets’ match against Model on Tuesday.