North Oconee volleyball recently finished its regular season schedule with a five-set win over Hart County.
The Titans’ victory came in set scores of 25-21, 25-19, 22-25, 18-25 and 15-9.
It wasn’t a region match for North Oconee, but it was only the Bulldogs’ third loss of the season, marking the victory as an important checkpoint for the Titans. With the region tournament just around the corner and state playoffs beginning Oct. 19, the Titans had one final opportunity to leave it all on the court.
Head coach Jordan Childs said that it was one of her team’s most successful weeks in practice and matches. While they lost to Prince Avenue two days before hosting Hart County, the Titans stole a set and put up a challenge for the Wolverines with their seven blocks.
“I really could not have been more proud. They showed true grit and gave maximum effort each point, which is exactly what I ask for,” Childs said. “I would say this was one of their most successful weeks as a team because of how hard they worked together and how well they faced adversity.”
Thursday’s matchup was not only the North Oconee regular season closer but also a rematch. The Titans had previously lost to Hart County in two sets on Aug. 12, by scores of 25-13 and 25-21.
Senior Brooke Williams had an improved match, scoring a team- and career-high 11 kills, up from six kills in August. She added three blocks as well in her second performance, helping her its tie their season-high seven blocks for the third time.
Lexie Spencer, who didn’t play in the first matchup, earned her own career- and team-high 19 digs in the recent rematch. Meredith Jones also helped the Titans in their comeback victory, improving from two to 14 digs.
These players added to a more consistent performance by North Oconee.
The team’s first hitting percentage, .053, was brought down by four players hitting negatively. Thursday’s match improved to .150 with no players hitting in the negatives.
Additionally, the offense was spread out, with three more players finding at least one kill in the recent match.
The opposing Bulldogs were unable to convert digs to kills. They were brought down at the net because of the pressure from the Titans. Hart County’s hitting percentage fell from .265 to .155.
Overall, the Bulldogs tallied more errors than North Oconee throughout the five sets. Hart County had nine more attack errors and three more service errors. Those mistakes gave free points to the Titans who were then able to capitalize on them.
Childs credited her team’s preparation for the victory.
“The girls that were on the court truly wanted to be there and it showed in their effort, performance and energy, not only during the game but at practice,” Childs said. “The bench did an exceptional job during both matches, keeping the energy and positivity high as well as supporting their teammates on the court.”
Despite lineup changes on the court, the players stayed calm under the pressure of a home crowd. A team full of talent and dedication for the sport allowed Childs to trust in her lineup choices.
“Each day, the girls are competing for their position because of the depth of young talent we have on the team,” Childs said. “We were missing a few players last week, but this didn’t stop the drive to compete. Many players capitalized on their opportunity to play and earned their position. I’m excited to continue the development of these athletes as well as the future of Titan volleyball.”
In her first year at North Oconee, Childs finished her regular season with a 12-15.
As the Titans await the postseason, they look to build on Childs’ impact on the program and continue to show growth in the region tournament and state playoffs.