Poetry and a resilient mindset helped Lady Cougars in 3-1 win over Aucilla Christian Academy

Published 2:52 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2023

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The Lady Cougars won the mental battle in their 3-1 victory against Aucilla Christian Academy. The Lady Warriors took the first set, and then the Lady Cougars won three in a row to secure the win.

Head Coach Kelsey Harrell said GCA and Aucilla Christian have a history in athletics, and Aucilla has historically come out on top.

“I think we knew we were better than them, but we were scared like, ‘What if we play our best and it’s not good enough,’” Harrell said. “We just held back a little bit in the first set and started the second set the same way.”

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The second set was back and forth. Multiple lead changes and turbulent play led to Harrell calling a timeout to regroup with her team. She couldn’t remember what she told the girls but said whatever she said worked. They started to pull away, and Aucilla mounted a small comeback, but it wasn’t enough to spoil the Lady Cougars’ first set win of the night. 

Sets three and four were a different story. 

“In set three, we started to swing,” Harrell said. “We started to be offensively aggressive.”

Harrell said the team did not bring that aggression in the first two sets, partly due to inconsistent passing. Between sets two and three, Harrell got creative to find the solution.

“I have a poem for you guys, and it goes like this,” Harrell told the team. “If we do not get good passes, then we will not have good sets. If we do not have good sets, we cannot execute on offense, and then we will lose.”

Harrell said the team responded well to the poem and that they said it made a lot of sense. The Lady Cougars won sets three and four 25-15 and 25-16

“In set three and four… we dominated,” Harrell said.

Harrell said she was impressed with the team’s will and resilience after losing the first set.

“In years past, when we would have lost the first set the way we did, I don’t know if the program would have been able to counterbalance that,” Harrell said. “But tonight, we lost the first set, and for them to be like, ‘OK, that was a fluke, we’re just gonna keep doing what we do,’ that was impressive to see.”

The Lady Cougars travel to Thomasville Thursday to take on the Bulldogs, first serve at 6 pm.