After only one week of practice as a team the Morgan County High School (MCHS) Spike Dogs opened their season at home last Tuesday.
“We had a great home crowd,” said Varsity Volleyball Coach Pete Busenitz. “They really helped us out.”
On Tuesday Aug. 12, the Spike Dogs were back in action starting off their season at home with matches against Cedar Shoals and East Jackson. The Varsity team played along side the Junior Varsity team. Cedar Shoal was first up for the Bulldogs.
“Beginning our season at home on Tuesday, our girls were very excited about their first games,” said JV Coach Jessica Steele. “We had some difficulty with rotations that kept us from playing as well as we probably could have.”
The JV Bulldogs took their first set against Cedar Shoals. In the second set the team seemed be playing well for their first night out. In the second set the Bulldogs led through out the game. It was obvious that the young team was learning their positions but returning players encouraged the new girls.
“In these first games we really learned how important it is to communicate with each other at all times, or else the ball hits the floor,” said Steele. “They know better than to let the ball hit the floor.”
The JV Spike Dogs beat Cedar Shoals 25 to 18 in the second set winning the match. As for the Varsity girls they also dominated the first set against Cedar. In the second set the girls were pumped and ready to take the match. Coach Busenitz noted that the team’s ball control was solid in the games.
Hannah Caison and Paige Hilsman put up impressive serves in the sets against Cedar Shoals. The Varsity Spike Dogs went on to beat Cedar Shoals 25 to 14. After the first matches the Bulldog girls had the chance to watch the Cedar Shoals and East Jackson play each other.
This prepared the girls as they stepped into their first region match against East Jackson. For the Varsity girls the first set against East Jackson seemed to be neck and neck. After a tie at 14 to 14 the Spike Dogs dug in and began leading the set. They went on to win the first set 25 to 18.
The second set for the Varsity girls was difficult. Late in the set Paige Hilsman was injured. This was an obvious set back to the tough team. With Hilsman out the girls had to work extra hard to take the second set. In the end they were able to secure the win 25 to 15.
“One thing we have to work on is keeping our focus and intensity high,” said Busenitz.
As for the JV girls East Jackson was a tough opponent. The Dogs lost the first set 24 to 26. The Spike Dogs weren’t ready to quit. In the second set the Bulldogs dug in and went hard. They took the set 25 to 22. In the third and final set the girls proved they wanted the win. They went on to beat East Jackson 25 to 18.
Next the Varsity girls traveled to North Oconee. On Thursday, August 14 the Spike Dogs traveled for their first away game. North Oconee has been a force to be reckoned with in the past and this week they were no different.
“It left me feeling good about where we’re going to be at the end of the year, if we can compete and practice the way we did that night,” said Busenitz.
Busenitz went on to say that the Bulldog serving wasn’t quite up to the level of the Titians that night. North Oconee took the first set 20 to 25. In the second set the Spike Dogs had a little internal problems and lost 8 to 25. In the third set they came back and fought hard but were still losing 14 to 25.
The JV girls also traveled to North Oconee Saturday August 16 for a play day. Coach Steele said that the team had a lot of fun, which is something the coach has wanted since the beginning of the season. The girls played Athens Academy first. They would lose this match with set scores of 25-20, 12-25, 9-15.
Next the girls took on Apalachee, winning in two sets: 25-19 and 25-6. Next the girls took on Madison County, which Coach Steele called a something special game. The team came together throughout the whole game. They yelled and encouraged each other.
The girls fought to get behind every ball and had good passes to the setter. During the last timeout, after losing a few points, Steele asked the girls whose game it was. The girls responded our game! The girls went on to win the game and they learned to celebrate as a team.
After winning two of the three games the team went on to play in the tournament. Although they were tired, they were still playing as a team. As the JV girls move into this week they’ll be working on being more consistent.