Lady Cougars advance to State semi-finals
Published 12:06 am Wednesday, October 4, 2023
The Lady Cougars are two wins away from capturing a state title.
They hosted the first two rounds of the GIAA volleyball state playoffs on Tuesday — winning both. The Lady Cougars’ first opponent, St. George’s Episcopal School, forfeited, punching the team’s ticket to the next round. As good as a free win sounds, Lady Cougars head coach Kelsey Harrell said it could have been a detriment to the team.
“We were basically stuck,” Harrell said. “It was 20 minutes before, like, we were down here about to warm up, and we found out they weren’t coming, and I couldn’t send anyone home… I was like, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to come out given that we were here for hours.’”
That game was scheduled for a 4 p.m. start time. Harrell and the team stayed at Grace Christian Academy until their second-round game started almost four hours later.
“I told them, ‘I’m so proud of the way you came out,’” Harrell said. “‘You didn’t let it affect you.’”
The Lady Cougars played Heritage Preparatory School in their second-round game. The team won in three consistent sets — each set ended with a score of 25-14. Harrell said her players didn’t give up much momentum against the Lady Rams, citing that as one of their keys to victory.
“There were a few times they may have gotten three points in a row,” Harrell said. “Overall, we never gave them a big momentum shift.”
Keeping momentum and not giving up sets has been a focal point for the Lady Cougars this season, according to Harrell. She said she and assistant coach Delany Mueller have “preached” staying mentally tough and not letting a game get away from them all season, and that it’s finally coming to fruition.
“Now we are at a point where I can look at them and be like, ‘Fix it, clean it up, let’s go,’” Harrell said. “They’re starting to get it. After every set, the players will look at us, and they’ll be like, ‘All right, zero-zero mindset.’”
With the win over Heritage in the books, the Lady Cougars are looking ahead to their semi-final matchup against Agusta Prep Day School on Friday.
“When you leave this gym tonight, it’s in the past,” Harrell told her team. “Our eyes are set on Friday.”
The Game against Agusta will be the second time the teams meet this season. The Lady Cougars played the Lady Cavaliers in a tournament in September, losing 2-1.
The semi-final game will be held at Heritage Preparatory School in Newnan, GA. First serve is at 12 p.m.