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Segars leading East Hall volleyball resurgence
Rally on the Ridge tournament MVP has helped set East Hall wins mark
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East Hall volleyball coach Ted Deppe saw a number of frustrated faces when he looked at his bench during a timeout.

Trailing 8-2 in the first set of the championship match against Gilmer on Saturday, Deppe told his team to prove it could win the Rally on the Ridge tournament. After all, nobody intended on losing after coming that far.

That’s when outside hitter Allyson Segars, one of Deppe’s senior leaders, decided enough was enough.

“It comes from the love of the sport,” Segars, who earned tournament MVP honors, said before Tuesday’s region opener against Lumpkin County. “With how good we’ve done this season, we all knew what we had to do to turn things around.”

Segars served 13 aces while gaining 29 points on serve throughout last week’s tournament, including several crucial ones that turned the tide against Gilmer in a 24-26, 25-21, 17-15 championship victory.

Confidence is flowing for East Hall, which boasts a 33-6 record this year following a pair of region wins on Tuesday.

Last week’s tournament victory is the second such triumph in the program’s 12-year history. The first was last month when the Lady Vikings went undefeated en route to winning the Walnut Grove Warrior Classic in Loganville.

Deppe, who is in his eighth year at East Hall, attributes much of the recent success to Segars and her ability to adapt since joining the team in her sophomore year.

Segars never intended on playing volleyball — she had been busy playing junior varsity basketball — but when Deppe invited her to try out, she was hooked.

“I ended up falling in love with the sport right then,” Segars said. “I’m pretty athletic, so it wasn’t too hard of a transition.”

After Segar prowled the net at middle for two years, Deppe pulled Segars aside before her senior season to ask if she’d move to outside hitter. She’d have to pick up serving duties, as well as learn a new way of passing from the back line to the front in order to help her team’s attack.

“I told her ‘you need to step up,’” Deppe said. “Moving from one position to the other meant she had to play defense and pass, what she’s never done before. But I think moving her was the best decision I’ve ever made as a coach.”

Despite never previously serving in her volleyball career, Segars now leads the state in aces (135) and stands second in Class AAA in kills (176).

Segars has already broken the East Hall school record for aces in a single season, but Deppe said he expects his senior to keep up her hot streak.

“I didn’t think I’d be quite as good (switching to outside hitter),” Segars said. “But now I’m the captain and there’s a lot of pressure. I think I’ve become a better leader overall.”

The Lady Vikings entered region play against Lumpkin County and also faced West Hall on Tuesday evening. Deppe has told his team that past performances are in the past and that picking up the program’s first region title is a top priority.

By winning the Rally on the Ridge tournament, the program also broke the school record for wins in a season (30 in 2012).

“With this group, we go one day at a time,” he said. “If we play our game and stay within ourselves, this team can definitely go further than any team I’ve coached. It’s definitely the best team I’ve ever coached, because these girls all want each other to succeed.”

Segars gained a little bit of playoff experience back in 2012 when the Lady Vikings lost to Oconee County in the first round. With two tournament victories under her belt, the senior said she feels poised to help her team turn early success into another postseason appearance.

“I definitely think we have a chance to come out on top,” Segars said. “But we have to keep our focus and our intensity levels up. If we do that, we’ve got a chance.”

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