Eastside volleyball qualifies for state

WATKINSVILLE - On Saturday, Eastside volleyball made history.

The Lady Eagles finished fourth in the Class AAA Tournament at Oconee County High School to extend their season for the first time ever.

As a result, Eastside will face Creekview at 3 p.m. Thursday at Morgan County High School in the first round of the Class AAA state tournament.

"We are still inconsistent with our play," Eastside coach Angie Lewis said. "But we have improved as the season progressed. We are excited about the opportunity to participate in the state sectional tournament being held this week."

In the first match, Eastside beat Jackson County in two games 25-23, 25-14.

After trailing 23-21 in the first game,

Eastside's Mary Sheets recorded four straight serves (one ace) to give her team the victory.

In the second game, Eastside took absolute control from the very beginning and never looked back.

As a team, the Lady Eagles had 11 aces and 10 kills.

The tide turned in the second match against No. 1 Oconee. Despite trailing by just two points in the first game, 12-10, Oconee went on a 13-2 run before winning.

In the second game, Eastside led 6-5 before Oconee ripped off a 14-1 run. Oconee later sealed the match after Eastside managed just two points.

In the third match, Eastside took a comfortable 6-0 lead over Morgan County. However, Morgan rallied to tie it at 11 before pulling away.

Though the second game yielded the same result, it was neck-and-neck toward the end. After leading 22-19, Eastside collapsed as Morgan captured the win.

Nevertheless, the Lady Eagles are moving on.

"Had we played every game as we did the first one against Oconee we would have ended up as one of the top two teams in the region tournament," Lewis said. "The score of that game doesn't reflect our play, but our girls knew they stepped up and performed to their potential."

Overall, Eastside's Katie Johnson had a team-high 10 kills, including three aces. Naomi Wills added six aces.

Jason Murdock can be reached at jason.murdock@rockdalecitizen