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36 teams to battle in second Spike Fest

CONYERS - Bring it!

Beginning Friday, five Newton/Rockdale County volleyball squads - Alcovy, Newton, Heritage, Rockdale and Salem - will do just that during the second annual Conyers Classic AmPest Spike Fest.

Play begins at 5 p.m. Friday at Heritage, Davis Middle School, Woodland and Eagles Landing followed by matches at 5:50, 6:40, 7:30 and 8:30.

A third match will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Salem High School rather then Davis Middle as well as the other host schools.

From that point, it will depend on how the teams do as to when and who they play next.

Overall, 36 teams will be competing in the event. Each squad will play in four pool-play matches with the top three of five advancing to medal play.

Meanwhile, the fourth- and fifth-place finishers in each pool will play a challenge match at its site.

Heritage (14-14 overall, 7-1 Area 8S-AAAA) will face Ola first on Friday, followed by Whitewater, who won the silver bracket last year.

In 2007, Sandy Creek won gold, while the bronze was awarded to Grayson.

Heritage coach David Buddenbaum said staying competitive is what this tournament is all about.

"I think to be competitive in all of our matches is always my goal," he said. "Whenever we can be competitive, that's what we're looking for. So we just want to (do) that."

Rockdale (13-11, 7-2), which is coming off a loss to Heritage on Tuesday, is hoping to get back on the right track. Before falling to the Lady Patriots, the Lady Bulldogs had won three consecutive matches. On Friday, they will square off against North Oconee and Mount Zion.

"It will give us a great chance to see some playoff-caliber teams and let us see what kind of things we need to work on," Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing said. "(It) will give us a chance to possibly try out some new lineups and things like that. We'll play at least three matches on Saturday, so it will give us a sample of what the region tournament will be like."

As for Salem (0-14, 0-7), it is aiming for an upset and more importantly its first win of the year. At any rate, the Lady Seminoles have absolutely zero pressure on them and look forward to a fun weekend of volleyball beginning with Dutchtown and Houston on Friday.

Alcovy (4-17, 0-7 Region 4-AAAA) and Newton (10-11, 4-3 Region 2-AAAAA) are also hoping to bounce back after coming off a loss. Alcovy will face Morgan and Northgate on Friday, while Newton will battle Eagle's Landing and Warner Robins.

Besides the five local schools and their opponents, Lee, Union Grove, Loganville, Lithia Springs, Johnson, Habersham Central, Clarke Central, East Hall, Morrow, Woodland, Chapel Hill, Greenbrier, Newnan, Fayette County, Jonesboro, Cedar Shoals, Tucker, Calvary Day, East Coweta, Hart County and Eagle's Landing Christian will also be featured in the tournament.

Jason Murdock can be reached at jason.murdock@rockdalecitizen.com.