The Carrollton High School volleyball team kept its undefeated stretch in area play alive with a pair of sweeps on Tuesday evening, dispatching of Paulding County in the opener and then taking down rival Villa Rica to close out the night.
The Lady Trojans eased to a 25-10 win in the first set against the Lady Patriots and then hung tight for a 26-24 nail-biter in the second set.
Against VR, Carrollton only trailed once in the first set at 7-6, but never led by more than the final margin of 25-19 in the nip-and-tuck tussle. In the second set, VR built early leads of 4-1 and 10-8, but the host squad controlled the late stages by finishing on a 17-4 run for the sweep.
Carrollton head coach Kasey Austin anticipated a pair of touch matches, Tuesday and she was proud of her squad for staying in the hunt for the No. 1 seed for next week's Area 7-AAAAA Tournament.
"We've been working really hard on our serve receive and getting kills on our serve receive. It does a lot for the mentality of the team. We really feel like we can take the first five points. Coming out strong has been something we've been working on all season and I feel like the girls are willing to do whatever they need to do in practice to make sure it happens," Austin said. "Our serve-receive game was really strong in the season. It kind of dipped down a little bit and we've worked really hard to get it back to where it needs to be."
The Lady Wildcats also opened strong on Tuesday with a 25-17, 25-16 sweep of Paulding County before settling for the split with the loss to Carrollton.
First-year VR head coach Bianca Helton thought her squad played well for the first three sets of the evening before a tough finish down the stretch.
"Luckily, I can mix a lot of things up. I don't think anybody saw the same lineup (Tuesday)," Helton said. "I have a lot of girls I can rotate in and out. I think we just kind of ran out of gas there late in that second set. We've got to find that second gear."
Currently in third place in the area standings, Helton feels good about her team's chances to make some noise over the final week of the regular season and into the Area 7-AAAAA Tournament next week.
"We've played some tough teams and we've had some good competition. (Wednesday) we're going to play the double-A defending state champion. So that will be another challenge," Helton said. "We're just trying to get prepared for the area tournament and finish strong going into the playoffs."
VR travels to Coosa today for a non-area match with the Lady Eagles and Armuchee before wrapping up the regular season next Tuesday against Cass and Rome.
The Lady Trojans close out area play next Tuesday at East Paulding against the Lady Raiders and Kell, which is the only other undefeated team in 7-AAAAA.
Austin is hopeful of building some momentum between now and then and she thought the attack from her offense was a step in the right direction Tuesday.
"I feel like we were able to utilize all of our hitters. Our hitters were equitable in this matchup. So a lot times we relied on specific key hitters and everybody in the lineup was able to step up and deliver," Austin said. "Even our back row players got a few kills in. That's something we haven't been seeing all season. So it was really good to see."