Sports Columns

October 7, 2013

A Look Ahead: Volleyball area tournaments this week

Last season, four volleyball teams from Whitfield and Murray counties did well enough in their respective area tournaments to reach the Georgia High School Association’s state playoffs.

How many teams will make it to state this year? We’ll find out this week.

All four area tournaments involving local teams begin this week, with Christian Heritage up first in Area 4-A. The Lady Lions take on Darlington at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Walker School in Marietta in first-round action. Depending on its results, Christian Heritage could play as many as two more matches Tuesday, with the tournament’s semifinals and finals taking place Thursday at the gym of the highest seed remaining.

In the Area 7-4A tournament, which starts Thursday with four 5:30 p.m. matchups, second-seeded Southeast Whitfield hosts No. 7 Gilmer, fifth-seeded Northwest Whitfield plays at fourth-seeded Ridgeland, sixth-seeded Dalton travels to No. 3 LaFayette and eighth-seeded Pickens is at top seed Heritage-Catoosa.

After Thursday’s matches, the rest of the bracket’s action will be played at Heritage-Catoosa starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and concluding in the afternoon, with the best-of-five championship final slated for 3:15 p.m.

The entire Area 5-3A tournament will take place at North Murray, which faces Ringgold in the first round Thursday, while Coahulla Creek faces Adairsville. Murray County and the rest of Area 5-2A will play their tournament at Calhoun’s gym, but no further details on that tournament were available as of Sunday evening.

Last season, Southeast won the Area 7-4A title while Dalton finished second and Northwest was fourth. The top-four finishers reach the state tournament, so all three of those teams made it, along with North Murray in Class 3A.

All four teams reached the second round but Southeast was the lone program to advance beyond that stage, finally dipping out in the Class 4A semifinals — the deepest run ever from a program in Murray or Whitfield counties.

Do the Lady Raiders have another run in store this year, or will another local team write the sequel?

• There’s also local college volleyball action on the menu this week.

Dalton State College will play two home matches this week at the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department’s Mack Gaston Community Center. The Roadrunners host Chattanooga’s Tennessee Temple University at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Martin Methodist College at the same time Friday.

• There’s plenty of football to be played — we hear there’s a little game between Dalton and Northwest Whitfield this week — but basketball is closer than you might think, with high school teams starting practice later this month and playing games next month and Dalton State’s men tipping off Oct. 30 at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

Next month will also provide a chance for area youngsters to get some on-court time with high school coaches as North Murray hosts a youth clinic for boys and girls in first through eighth grades from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 9. Registration will begin at 8 a.m.

It’s designed to be a fun event and cover all the fundamental skills of the game. The cost is $25 and includes a pizza lunch. To learn more, contact Tim Ellis at (706) 483-1962 or Keith Robinette at (706) 618-2735.

You can always learn about events like this by checking out the Local Sports Calendar online at daltonnow.com/events.

Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Have something you think he should highlight in “What’s Going On?” Write to him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com.

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