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.
Not a whole lot has changed in a year.
- Southeast High School Raiders
Bringing in the best
When high school football coaches look for events to take their teams to during the summer, they are looking for three things — top competition, organization and hospitality.
For The Daily Citizen’s Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship, the Dalton community and local business leaders take care of the latter. The tournament officials work tirelessly to provide the organization. And the two combined assure the top competition will show up.
In the lineup again
When Northwest Whitfield repeated as the Georgia High School Association Class 4A softball state champion last fall, that appeared to be the last time the majority of the Lady Bruins’ senior class would be teammates on the diamond.
Now, thanks to the Stump on Sports All-Star Softball Classic, five of those six seniors will reunite to play together one more time.
Junior golf: Hicks able to hang for final round
Despite giving up a few strokes from Monday’s opening round of 4-over-par 76, Dalton’s Landon Hicks was the only local competitor to advance to the third round of the Georgia Junior Championships.
All-Area Spring Female Team: Salinas hoping things keep getting better and better with age
Isabel Salinas’ freshman season for Southeast Whitfield High School’s track and field team wasn’t up to her standards, and she really isn’t sure why it ended up that way in 2013. It could have been her injuries. It could have been not being in proper shape.
One thing Salinas, nicknamed “Izzy” by friends and coaches, does know is that her sophomore year went a lot better.
All-Area Baseball Team and Player of the Year
As a freshman at Northwest Whitfield High School, Seth Pierce came out of nowhere and was as dominant a pitcher as the area had. Finishing his “rookie” season with the Bruins, the left-handed Pierce led the area with nine victories — he also had one save — and showed overpowering dominance with a 9-3 record and 89 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. He finished his first season on the hill in Tunnel Hill with a 1.71 ERA while allowing 61 hits and 23 walks. Those numbers were also recorded against competition in a higher classification as the Bruins were playing Class 4A ball when the state had just five classifications. His performance earned him honors as 2012 The Daily Citizen All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.
State soccer: Raiders come up a goal short
GAINESVILLE — Southeast Whitfield High School’s boys soccer team needed at least one break to go its way against Johnson-Gainesville in Tuesday’s Class 4A state semifinals.
Even when the Raiders believed they had earned a break, they didn’t receive the credit.
Prep boys soccer: Different routes for Dalton, SE
The boys soccer teams at Dalton and Southeast Whitfield high schools are eyeing a return to the Class 4A state title game.
But while they share a common ambition, the routes the Catamounts and Raiders must take to reach the championship on May 17 at Kennesaw State University are taking a different turn tonight.
Prep volleyball: SE libero Paloblanco to Temple
In volleyball, the libero position is limited to playing on the back row and specializes in defensive contributions.
Southeast Whitfield High School senior Yasmeen Paloblanco wasn’t limited in what she meant to the Lady Raiders, though, and her ability to excel as a libero is helping her remain on the court as she heads to college.
Since he was very young, Southeast Whitfield High School senior Rhett Harper has often had a ball in his hand, with another game to play or a practice somewhere on his calendar.
Sectionals for sisters
TUNNEL HILL — When you consider all of the hours of practice, all of the years of gymnastics training and the physical demands of being a cheerleader, the last word you would expect to hear an athlete use to describe herself is “lazy.”
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