Troup, LaGrange compete in area tournament
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
There are five teams participating in the Area 1-AAAA volleyball tournament, and four of them will qualify for the state playoffs.
Troup and LaGrange are among the teams looking to punch their ticket to state, and they’ll get an opportunity to do that when the double-elimination area tournament kicks off today at Fayette County High.
Troup, the number three seed, will play second-seeded Central-Carroll at 5 p.m., while fourth-seeded LaGrange will play Spalding County at 5 p.m.
If Troup wins, it would play again on Thursday at 5 p.m. with a berth in the championship match on the line.
If LaGrange beats Spalding County, it would play top-seeded Fayette County at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, and the winner of that match will play again on Thursday at 5 p.m.
If LaGrange loses to Spalding County, it would play the loser of the Central-Carroll and Troup match on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
LaGrange and Troup both tuned up for the area tournament by participating in the Dig Pink event last week that also included Callaway.
Troup went 2-0 on the day with a straight-sets win over Callaway and a hard-fought victory over LaGrange that went the full three sets.
Troup head coach Anna Andrews is hoping to see her team make a nice run at the area tournament, and possibly secure home-court advantage at state.
“The first and second-place teams host a match at state,” Andrews said. “I told my girls, we have a great shot of hosting that first round at state, which would be amazing. I don’t think we’ve ever hosted a state game before.”
It’s also possible Troup could match up with LaGrange again following their back-and-forth match last week.
After the teams split the first two sets, Troup won the winner-take-all third seed to stay unbeaten against LaGrange this season.
“The thing is with the area tournament, we may not see LaGrange, or we could have one more match against them,” Andrews said. “It’ll be interesting to see.”
For LaGrange, under the direction of first-year head coach Tejay Dowden, the hope is that everything falls into place this week.
“Everything we’ve doing has been building toward the area tournament,” Dowden said.
Both teams are led by a strong group of seniors.
At Troup, there are five seniors, and they were a part of a team that reached the second round of the state playoffs in 2018.
The seniors are Macy Jeter, Landen Sheets, Amauriya Brown, Savannah Coker and Victoria Finley, and Andrews is grateful to have those players to lean on.
“They’re all so talented,” Andrews said. “It’s nice to focus on the strategy and the game play, because the skill is already there. So that’s been nice in my first year as head coach to not have to focus on all the little stuff, and focus on the big picture.”
At LaGrange, seniors Carmen Lynch, Abby Norton, Lindsey Ransone and Hayleigh Seabaugh are hoping to end their seasons with an appearance in the state tournament.
Dowden, who coached the seniors when they were student-athletes at Gardner Newman Middle School, has enjoyed being able to re-connect with those players this season.
“I am so thankful I got to be with the same girls I had in middle school, because it’s such an easy transition for us,” Dowden said. “It’ll be sad to see them go.”