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Lady Dragons bounce back to beat Prince Avenue
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Jefferson fought back after finding itself down early in both games against Prince Avenue Christian Tuesday night to take a 2-0 win over the Lady Wolverines in the Area 8-A/AA volleyball tournament at the East Hall Community Center.

"We did not play well in either game, but in a tournament you try to win and advance, and that's what we did," said Jefferson coach Mike Paul.

Mistakes, miscues and poor decision making found the Lady Dragons - the No. 1 seed out of Area 8-A/AA North - down 13-4 in the first game and 9-2 in the second, but Jefferson battled back to rally to 25-16 and 25-18 wins.
Jefferson fell behind quickly 4-0 in the first game, and Paul was forced to take a time out a short time later after the lead extended to 13-4.

"I told them to relax," he said. "We were pressing too much and trying to do too much."

Prince Avenue saw a more relaxed opponent take the floor after the time out and quickly saw its lead diminish. Tied 14-14, the Lady Dragons rode strong serving and kills to outscore the Lady Wolverines 11-2 the rest of the game.

The slow start in the second game wasn't how Paul wanted his team to respond, but it once again fought back to tie the game, at 15-all this time, before outscoring its opponent 10-3 to win the game and the match.

Fatigue most certainly came into play for Prince Avenue, which played Athens Christian right before the match with Jefferson. The Lady Dragons had a first-round bye as a top seed.

Jefferson will now face George Walton Academy Thursday at 6 p.m. at East Hall High School. George Walton defeated East Hall in its game Tuesday to advance in the winner's bracket.

"We're going to have to play better than we did tonight if we want to win," Paul said.

JACKSON COUNTY FALLS TO HART COUNTY: Jackson County volleyball coach Crystal Colley mentioned after the last match of the regular season that one of her team's biggest weaknesses was slow starts in games.

That weakness showed Tuesday night in the first round of the Area 8-A/AA tournament as the Lady Panthers got off to a slow start in both games against Hart County and fell 2-0 (25-11, 25-20) to send them to the loser's bracket.

In the second game, Jackson County led early 3-2 before the Lady Bulldogs went on a 17-3 scoring run to take a commanding 20-6 lead. Colley then called a time out and told her team to refocus.

"I've been struggling all year with us starting late and me getting very mad and yelling down their throats. And I was trying to stay calm, but it got to the point where I got mad again and I about had it with this," Colley said. "I told them that all of them are good players and just as good as that Hart County team and they need to go show that. And they did, but unfortunately it was a little bit too late."

Jackson County did mount a comeback, riding strong serving and error-free play to come as close as four points, 22-18. Hart County was able to hold on, however, taking a time out of its own and pulling out the 25-20 win.

The first game was almost identical to the second, except the comeback wasn't quite there. Hart County quickly jumped out to a 5-0 lead and kept up the fast pace to a 25-11 win.

The Lady Panthers will play Prince Avenue Christian Thursday at 5 p.m. at the East Hall Community Center in an elimination game for both teams.

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