Lady Jack­ets con­tinue strong start, sweep home tri-match

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS SATURDAY - By Alex Far­rer

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.

TIM GODBEE / For the Cal­houn Times

Cal­houn’s Anna Ge­orge goes up for a kill at the net dur­ing her team’s match against Coahulla Creek.

TIM GODBEE / For the Cal­houn Times

Cal­houn’s Ash­lyn Br­zo­zoski serves dur­ing the Lady Jack­ets’ match against Model on Tuesday.

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