Middle School Volleyball
Lee wins fourth straight county title
The road to a fourth consecutive Coweta County Middle School Athletic League volleyball championship was a bit bumpier than the three previous for the Lee Middle Timberwolves.
But it may have been just as satisfying considering the adversity involved according to coach Robert Doyal. On the heels of avenging a pair of losses to Arnall during the regular season, Lee powered past fourth-seeded Madras 25-19, 25-12, 25-22 in a three-game sweep for its fourth consecutive CCMSAL championship since 2010.
Lee received a boost from the return of outside hitter and team captain Katie Morganroth from an injury late in the season, with the semifinal match posing as a possible turning point.
“These girls grew up against a strong Arnall team in the semifinals and took care of a touch [Madras] Eagles team in the finals,” said Doyal.
Seventh graders Nahla Muhammad and Kelley Lynch came up big at middle hitter and setters Kirby Olive and Chandler Hendrix were essential to the offense. The defense was led by libero Adelyn Ryan, who added clutch serving.
On the outside, Morgenroth and Morgan Charboneau “pulled us through some critical moments with timely kills and blocks,” said Doyal.
Madras, led by coach Kelly Benton, upset No. 1 seeded Smokey Road to reach the finals for the third time over the past four seasons. It was the fifth consecutive championship appearance for Lee, which lost to Smokey Road in 2009 before beginning its string of titles.
Unlike the last three trophy wins — in which Lee lost just one match while going 35-1 from 2010-2012 — a less experienced Timberwolves team entering the season had to turn things around following two early losses. According to Doyal, injuries along with “distractions and bouts of stubborness,” all contributed to the slow start.
“We went through a lot of struggles early,” he said. “At our lowest point of the season, we had lost three matches in a row and only scored nine points in our final set of a match. We were just not focused.”
Lee, however, reeled off five consecutive victories to finish the season with an 8-5 record following a loss to Madras on Sept. 16.
“This was a rewarding season,” said Doyal.