Spike Dogs: Volleyball team kicks off season 5-2
By Patrick Yost
photos by grace yost
Morgan County Spike Dog Head Coach Pam Hooten has always preached the same mantra to her players. Work hard, now, work hard in the off season, stay in shape, study the game.
This year's group has listened.
The Spike Dogs have started the season with a 5-2 overall record and a 1-1 region record with strong wins over East Jackson, Alcovy, Salem, Lumpkin County and Eastside.
Losses to perennially strong North Oconee and Walnut Grove are the only blemish on a schedule and team that is looking to do more than be competitive.
"The girls worked hard in the off-season. They played club ball; they got involved."
"You've got to stay in shape and stay on top of the game."
Despite the losses, Hooten and the squad took heart. "The North Oconee loss was to a team that we were neck-and-neck with the whole time." Both North Oconee and Walnut Grove went down to the wire, with Morgan pushing the match to three games.
Hooten has welcomed back a host of experience for this year's squad. Senior Rosalie Keck, a three-year starter, remains the Spike Dogs "go-to" girl, Hooten says, with her impressive athleticism and reach, Keck is a dominant force on the net.
Alyson Curry, another senior, has moved from outside hitter to setter on this year's squad and is using her experience to set up scoring plays. And Curry likes what she's seen from the team so far. "I think as a team we are gelling more than we ever have. I feel positive about the team this year."
Hooten also added a dominant player in Colorado transfer Olivia Keegan. Keegan, an outside hitter, comes from a Colorado squad that finished third in the state last year and brings power to the Morgan County squad. "She's filled a gap that we just didn't have," Hooten says.
Filling out the starting six is Taylor Bruce, a talented sophomore; Rosa Cox, a sophomore defensive specialist and Mikayla Taylor, a junior middle hitter.
Morgan faced region rivals Oconee and North Oconee Tuesday night at home. Both matches will be a harbinger for region success.
"My main priority is to develop so we are playing the best, best volleyball in October for the area tournament," Hooten says.
For Curry, the best is coming. "We know we have a sharp team," she says. "We know we can win."
Printed in the August 23, 2012 edition