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Early volleyball tourney aids teams
Lakeview’s Katie Zottnick waits to return a spike from North Oconee’s Karlee Edwards Saturday during a game in the North Hall Classic Volleyball Tournament at Lakeview Academy. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

The purpose of early season volleyball tournaments is to provide teams a way to work on strategy, find out which personnel works best together, and see a slew of different opponents of all levels and classifications.

Saturday’s Hall County Classic did all that and more.

Teams started gathering at three separate locations — Lakeview Academy, East Hall High and the East Hall Community Center — at 9 in the morning, some changed venues midday, then played the remainder of the seven scheduled games per team. In total, 45 matches were played between 16 different teams including, North Hall, West Hall, Johnson, Jefferson, Lakeview Academy, Buford and Chestatee.

“After this tournament, and from looking around the region, we feel confident in our chances this year,” said West Hall coach Joe Nelson, whose Lady Spartans finished with wins over Monroe Area, Hart County and Athens Christian. “We lost two important players from last year’s team, and I’m satisfied with how things turned out.”

Nelson was even satisfied with a loss, considering it was at the hands of Athens Academy, the No. 5 team in Class AA/A.

“They beat North Hall too, and I thought we were just as competitive against them,” Nelson said. “I was hoping to come out of this tournament 3-3, and that’s what we did.”

In their final win against Hart County, the Lady Spartans overcame an obvious height advantage to beat the Lady Bulldogs in straight games. A late lapse in the second game allowed the Hart County to rally within a few points, which is a cause for concern according to Nelson.

“We weren’t aggressive all the time,” he said. “When we were aggressive, we played better, but when we stopped playing aggressive, that’s when things went against us.”

Jefferson coach Mike Paul left the event feeling good about his Lady Dragons after they finished 5-1.

“It was great for us as far as competition is concerned,” said Paul, whose lone loss came from Athens Academy. “We got to see a lot of different teams that we might not get to see, and see the teams in our region and what they have.”

Paul also used the six-match event to see what he had.

“We did get to play a lot of people because we played six matches,” Paul said. “We had a few surprises and some girls who did better than expected, but we also saw some weaknesses we have to work on.”

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