High School Volleyball
Lady Indians sweep Johns Creek, McIntosh
by Doug Gorman
By DOUG GORMAN firstname.lastname@example.org East Coweta volleyball coach Amber McClure knew when she set up this year's schedule her team was going to be tested.
That was certainly the case Thursday night when a traditional state power and a defending state champion came to call on the Lady Indians inside John Thrower Gymnasium.
In the end, East Coweta escaped with a sweep, beating Johns Creek (18-25, 25-13, 25-16) and defending Class AAAAA state champion McIntosh (25-21, 25-19).
'I expected tonight to be a competitive, and I was excited to get to play these matches at home,' McClure said.
It's the second consecutive season East Coweta has defeated Johns Creek after defeating the Lady Gladiators on the road last fall.
The Lady Indians used defense to battle back from a game down against Johns Creek, with three players posting at least 15 digs. Senior Jessie Bartholomew led the way with 21, while Haylea Mannebach and Sydney Winters added 18 and 16, respectively.
Dominique Ingram added a team-high six blocks while Bartholomew led the offense over both matches with 30 kills.
Setter Peyton Smith finished with 44 assists and Riley Padgett and Winters led the service game with eight and six aces, respectively.
East Coweta showed its ability to rally in the first match of the day against Johns Creek.
'The first set was not great,' McClure said. 'I think we played very tentatively. We made them look like All-Americans. They looked powerful, they looked big, and they overpowered us, and I give them a lot of credit, but at the same time, we were playing on our heels. I asked the girls want happened last year when we went down there and beat them and they said we were aggressive. Once we were able to change that mindset, things started working in our favor.'
The second game was the most competitive of the day. After seven lead changes and 12 ties, the Lady Indians appeared on the brink of elimination after falling behind 20-16.
East Coweta, however, outscored the Lady Gladiators 6-1 late in the match using solid play in front of the net.
East Coweta led the decisive final game the entire way, holding off a couple of late charges after the Lady Gladiators twice cut the lead to one point, the last of which came with the Lady Indians ahead 10-9.
East Coweta pulled away thanks to solid serving from Padgett and kills from Bartholomew and Ingram. In the second match against McIntosh the two teams played through nine ties in the first set, with the final one coming at 21.
East Coweta then caught fire at rolled off the next four points to win the game.
The Lady Chiefs took control of the final set, building leads of 3-1 and 7-5, before East Coweta rolled off 11 straight points to take control of the contest for good. Key digs from Bartholomew, Mannebach and Winters helped keep points alive.