Prince Avenue volleyball has noticed a difference in the last few weeks of play.
The Lady Wolverines have learned how to play together, leading the team to nine wins in the last 10 games, including one over Oconee County, which they had lost to only 16 days before. Head coach Morgan Garretson hopes to continue the momentum of the last few weeks of regular season play and into the region tournament and state playoffs.
The second match against the Lady Warriors was an exciting opportunity for Prince Avenue. In that match, the Lady Wolverines showed progress in nearly every category of the game, earning themselves a 2-1 set victory. They improved from 13 team kills to 28 in the second matchup and increased team service aces from two to nine.
Additionally, the team notched 41 digs in comparison to the previous 17, marking a season-high in team digs at the time of the game. Defensive specialist Brooke Shambo’s career-high 13 digs powered the defense.
Garretson credited her team’s personal connections for the comeback.
“The last couple weeks, we’ve really focused on coming together as a team and I think that team unity, really stressing playing not just for yourself but for your team, and going out there and playing selfless volleyball, where you’re constantly looking out for the people beside you, I think we are starting to put that together,” Garretson said. “That unity is carrying us through playing some really good volleyball right now.”
Garretson also noted her team has improved in consistency. In the beginning of the season, she noticed the Lady Wolverines would play high-level volleyball but not sustain it in later games.
That has been one of the biggest differences since the rematch against Oconee County. Garretson acknowledged her team’s reliance on the mental aspect of the game, which has improved with sustainable consistency.
With four regular season games left, Garretson wants to make sure the Lady Wolverines are not giving away free points to opponents.
“When you play the better teams we play, you have to make them earn their points, you can’t give them anything,” Garretson said. “When we’re playing a team where you’re fighting for every point, we’re really gonna focus on reducing our errors, serving tough, putting the ball in our leaders’ hands and maintaining that high level of play. We’re just going to keep focusing on those things riding out the next couple of weeks.”
Anna Greer Vandagriff, one of the team’s seniors, has improved her recent play as well. Vandagriff struggled in the middle of the season, but has since played at the “top of her game,” according to Garretson. Kept to a season-low six kills in the loss to Oconee County, she improved to 16 in their next matchup. She additionally tied her season-high 20 kills in Prince’s win over Loganville Christian Academy.
The other players feed off her performance, said Garretson.
“The kids got to a point where we said, ‘What do we want out of this season? Who is this team and how do we want people to remember us?’” Garretson said. “ I think our team has realized that, individually, we may be able to accomplish some good things, but put that together and when we focus on doing that together, we can accomplish some great things.”
The Lady Wolverines want to continue building on momentum in the next two weeks before state playoffs begin. For now, they prepare to face King’s Ridge Christian and region opponent Tallulah Falls. The Lady Wolverines will celebrate senior night on Oct. 5 against North Oconee.