Dalton High School Catamounts

October 2, 2013

Prep roundup: Lady Raiders volleyball still the team to beat

Not a whole lot has changed in a year.

Southeast Whitfield High School’s volleyball team is still racking up wins against Dalton and Northwest Whitfield, and the Lady Raiders once again enter next week’s Area 7-4A tournament riding high.

Southeast swept a pair of matches Tuesday at home, beating Northwest 25-10, 25-21 and topping Dalton 25-21, 25-20. The Lady Bruins beat the Lady Catamounts 25-23, 25-18 in the other match as all three squads finished their area schedules and await other match results from Tuesday to determine seeding for the tournament, which will be held at Heritage-Catoosa.

Southeast (24-10, 5-2) won the Area 7-3A title in 2011 and the Area 7-4A crown last season before making a run to the Class 4A state semifinals, the deepest postseason push ever for any program in Murray or Whitfield counties.

By winning their final two area matches this season, the Lady Raiders assured themselves of at least a No. 3 seed entering the area tournament — losses to Heritage and Ridgeland mean they might not be seeded any better than that — and gave Southeast a boost of confidence as the postseason comes near.

“We have people who are stepping up if someone is struggling,” said Lady Raiders coach Bethany Kenemer, who’s in her first season leading the team. “I told them, ‘Imagine if we’re all playing up at the same time.’”

Dalton (6-24) went 3-4 in area play, while Northwest (20-16) went 4-3. The top four finishers in the area tournament will earn a spot in the Class 4A state tournament.

Southeast led most of the way during its first set versus Dalton and finished it with a kill from Wendy Perez. The second game took a bit longer to complete because Lady Cats coach Joey Wills and some of the players complained about Southeast fans calling out their names and numbers.

“It’s great to have a loud atmosphere, but you can’t call out opposing players by name,” Wills said.

After a meeting with the head official, Kenemer asked the fans to continue cheering without those calls.

“I think they listened to me, because I didn’t hear anything from then on,” Kenemer said.

With the second set tied at 20, Southeast began playing better and scored five straight points. Angie Purkey assisted Serena Ramsey for four kills, including the match winner, and Tania Lopez had an ace during the run.

Playing in loud atmospheres — and playing competitive matches like the ones Tuesday — only will benefit the Lady Raiders, Ramsey said.

“I think the more experience we get playing good teams, the more we’ll grow and get better,” she said.

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Dalton High School Catamounts
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