October 8, 2013

Lady Lions ready to go in Area 4-A volleyball

Devin Golden

— Christian Heritage School’s varsity volleyball team has a simple plan for reaching the Georgia High School Association’s Class A state playoffs: win twice before losing twice.

The Lady Lions will soon know if they met that goal.

Depending on their success, the Lady Lions will play either two or three matches today as the Area 4-A tournament begins at the Walker School in Marietta — and by the end of the evening, they’ll also either be celebrating a spot in the state playoffs or packing up for the season.

All of the possibilities start with Christian Heritage’s first-round match against Darlington at 5 p.m.

The Lady Lions (19-8) are the No. 4 seed in the seven-team, double-elimination tournament. Darlington’s Lady Tigers are the No. 5 seed. The teams split two matches this season, with Christian Heritage winning the contest affecting area standings and losing later in the year when the match didn’t count toward league records.

“When we played them the second time, we didn’t play well,” Lady Lions community coach Lisa Donahue said. “It gives us confidence that we have beaten them before.

“They have some bigger girls who can hit, but I think if we keep the ball up and play good defense, then we’ll be OK.”

With a victory, Christian Heritage would advance to the second round and face top-seeded Walker, which received a first-round bye, at 6 p.m.

With a loss in either of the first two rounds, the Lady Lions drop to the losers’ bracket and will play at 7 p.m. in an elimination match.

Donahue said her team has the potential to beat Darling-ton, Walker and any other squad Christian Heritage crosses paths with.

“Our goal this season was to improve each game,” Donahue said. “The other teams may take us lightly, but we know we can play well and compete in this league.”

The field will be cut to four teams today, and the tournament concludes Thursday. If the Lady Lions win twice before losing twice, they’ll be one of the final four teams remaining in the tournament and will have a spot in the 24-team state tournament.

And the Lady Lions can do even better than their basic goal.

“If we can win all three today, then we’re in the championship game on Thursday,” Donahue said.

In other first-round matches, No. 3 seed Gordon Lee faces No. 6 seed North Cobb Christian and No. 2 seed Mount Paran Christian faces No. 7 seed Whitefield Acad-emy.