GCA Lady Cougars Volleyball reaches Final Four at GIAA State Tournament
Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2022
The GCA Lady Cougars Volleyball teams 2022 season came to an end this past weekend, but not without a successful showing as the team made a Final Four appearance in the GIAA State Tournament. The Lady Cougars defeated St. George’s and Georgia Christian before falling to Westminster Christian Academy in the semi-finals.
Despite the season coming to an end, Head Coach Kelsey Harrell and her staff were extremely proud of the way that her team battled, both physically and mentally in the tournament. Harrell knew that her team had talent, but was especially impressed by the way her team was able to mentally overcome obstacles.
“Proud isn’t even the right word,” said Harrell. “I knew we had the talent to win but after a few tough losses at the end of the regular season and then a disappointing placing at region, I wasn’t sure how our girls would respond but they came out and played together and probably had their best performance of the season in the win against Georgia Christian.”
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One advantage that the Lady Cougars gained from this experience is being able to have all their young players acquire experience in the tournament and learn from big-game, pressure situations in the future.
“We’re a really young team and next year we’ll be even younger with no seniors so it’s extremely important that we were able to get our girls that experience,” said Harrell. “As a coach it’s really difficult to teach and replicate stress and pressure situations in practice. It just comes with experience.”
In their performance against Georgia Christian, the Lady Cougars were firing on all-cylinders, turning in their best game of the season as they punched their ticket to the Final Four in four sets.
The Lady Cougars had experience against Georgia Christian earlier in the season which they used to an advantage in the state tournament. Mallorie Jordan and Kate Poitevint turned in their best performances as Jordan accumulated 24 digs and 16 kills, while Poitevint turned in 10 kills with 13 points in a row.
“Friday’s game against Georgia Chrstian was probably our most dominant showing,” said Harrell. “It was the best team effort I saw. We communicated well, had each other’s backs, went after balls, played aggressive defensively and just battled. It was awesome to see as a coach.”
After the win against Georgia Christian, the Lady Cougars took on a Westminster Christian team who had 24 wins going into the matchup and was ranked atop the GIAA Class AA rankings going into the tournament.
Although the Lady Cougars lost in three sets, the Lady Cougars rallied in the third set, bringing a ten point deficit, down to just four at one point.
“I told the girls don’t worry about the scoreboard. Just go out and for the rest of the match play for fun and they did that and we went on a run and were able to end the game on a positive note,” said Harrell. “I think our girls weren’t scared of the moment or of Westmnster, I think they were just scared to let each other down. Westminster is an outstanding team fundamentally and they rarely make mistakes.”
Despite the season coming to an end, what Coach Harrell is most proud of is seeing the way that her group bonded this whole season and built relationships that will last off the court.
“When the team came in at the beginning of the season I was really curious to see how they would gel,” said Harrell. “Everyone knew each other but each person kinda had their little clicks they would follow. As the season went on they showed a lot of growth and maturity and learned how to communicate and play as one group together.”