satisfactory
Opp’s Cammie Weaver digs the ball during the Class 3A, Area 2 tournament last week. The Lady Bobcats will face Greensboro tomorrow at 1:30 p.m at the super regional. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Late competition

Published 12:01am Thursday, October 25, 2012

Straughn, Opp to vie for state tourney spot

Unending crowd noise, a packed arena and volleyball players playing for a spot in the Elite 8 State tournament.

That’s what awaits local Class 3A teams Straughn and Opp as they compete in the 2012 South Super Regional at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.

In the super regional, teams have to win their first two games to gain a berth to the state tournament. Each match is single elimination unless a team wins the first two. The tourney begins tomorrow and will wrap up Saturday. Each team is allotted one match on Friday.

Class 3A Opp will face Greensboro at 1:30 p.m., and Straughn will face Sipsey Valley at 9 a.m., both on Court No. 4 tomorrow.

Leading up to the tournament, OHS coach Christie Spurlin said the girls are “excited” about the opportunity.

“We’re going to work hard this week and try to do some agility drills and try to get a little bit faster on our feet to prepare for this weekend,” Spurlin said. “They’re ready to go.”

The Lady Bobcats are 12-9 going into their match against Greensboro, who Spurlin said she doesn’t know much about.

Straughn’s Courtney Fussell (22) passes the ball. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

At this stage in the season, blocking is a predominantly important part of the game as competition heats up.

SHS coach Marc Tracy said blocking and “up spiking,” along with a few other things have been a focus this week at practice.

“We want to be able to up the ball,” Tracy said. “We just want to be quick on our feet. People think in volleyball that you have six people out there and it’s so easy, but when you actually get out there on the floor, it’s a pretty big playing surface.

“We’re just trying to work on getting to our spots,” he said. “We’ve been doing this long enough in the season where we feel pretty confident at this moment.”

Serving has been a bright spot for her girls, Spurlin said.

“We don’t have a real problem on serving,” she said. “The other thing is defensive positions, blocking and picking up the hits and being where were supposed to be at all times. We just can’t give up on the ball.”

“Hitting” has also been a focus for the Lady Tigers, Tracy said.

“We’ve been hitting some points this year that we’ve got too comfortable passing instead of hitting the ball over,” he said. “We want to be aggressive. I call it, and it may not be it, but offensive volleyball.

“You want to be the one who hits the ball instead of the one who is receiving the ball,” he said.

Both coaches expressed concern as to whether or not their girls are ready for the big environment post season volleyball brings.

“We played in a tournament over at Providence Christian,” Tracy said. “It’s going to be similar in the set up, but not as large scale. We had two courts set up, but not in as a tight space. I think that obviously helped a little bit. There’s not really a way for us to replicate that here.”

For Spurlin, she said she hopes the girls won’t get “overwhelmed.”

“Hopefully, they’ll keep a good mind set and stay focused,” she said.

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