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Rockdale wins Decatur Playdate

DECATUR -- Rockdale's volleyball team, coming off an Area 8-AAAA championship in 2010, can add its first trophy of 2011 to the display case. The Bulldogs swept three matches to take home first place in the Decatur Playdate on Saturday. Rockdale, which improved its overall record to 11-3 to go along with a 3-0 start in area play, opened the round-robin tournament with a 2-0 win over host Decatur (26-24, 25-13).

The Bulldogs had to fight adversity in their second match of the day after dropping the first game to The Paideia School, 25-20. No problem for Rockdale, which cruised to a 25-10 win in game two, then held off the Pythons 15-11 in the deciding game. Rockdale finished off the perfect day with a 2-0 win over Tucker, squeaking by in game one with a 25-20 win before a 25-16 victory clinched the tournament title.

"It was a great end to a great day. The team really played well together, and we had contributions from all over the court," said Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing. "Without all 12 of them today, we don't win first place."

Sansing got contributions from his entire roster, including Kendra Lackey, who led the team with 31 kills, and Libby Bradford, who handed out 55 assists and added 10 kills of her own. Abby Bradford (16 kills, five aces), Jaida Allen (14 kills), Brittany Frost (nine kills) and Alycia Johnson (seven kills) all helped fill up the stat sheet. The bench also contributed throughout the day, namely Natheree Lackey, who replaced Johnson after a hand injury forced her from all but three games, and Savannah Bryan, Gianna Smith, Adrienne Williams and Taylor Watts. That balance was what impressed Sansing the most.

"Kendra Lackey led the charge at the net ... Jaida Allen was a force at the net, and the Bradford sisters, Libby and Abby, led the team in aces as well as controlling the front row," said Sansing. "Brittany Frost and Alex Adams had great days defensively, they made sure no balls hit the floor and had tons of great passes all day. Alycia Johnson was having a great day until she injured her hand, which led to the biggest surprise when Natheree Lackey came in and didn't miss a beat, both offensively and defensively."

Rockdale returns to area play when it hosts Apalachee (along with non-area foe Locust Grove) starting at 5 p.m. today.

"If we play as well on Tuesday at home as we did today, we definitely have a good chance to beat Apalachee," Sansing said.Patriots sweep five in CordeleThe Heritage softball team went undefeated at last weekend's Watermelon Invitational, hosted by Crisp County High School, to win the Blue Division. The Patriots, who improved to 10-4, shut out Tift County, 8-0 to open the tournament, then defeated Pierce County, 6-2. In the final three games, Heritage nipped the host Cougars, 4-2, then had no trouble with Schley County (12-1) and Jackson (10-2). Heritage, 2-1 in Region 8-AAAA play, travels to Athens to play Cedar Shoals today at 5:55 p.m. before hosting Apalachee Thursday at 5:55 p.m.