COLLEGE PARK, Ga - A second set comeback secured Eastside their first-round win of the region tournament with a 2-0 win over the Luella Lions.
Going into the beginning of the tournament, the Eagles were 7-1 against 4-AAAA Region opponents, and head coach Maggie Johnston and the rest of the team were looking to continue the hot streak.
“[The game plan] was to definitely communicate and hustle and work as a team,” Johnston said. “We wanted to serve well and try to get [Luella] out of their system.”
Earlier in the season, the Eagles met with Luella at home, winning the game 2-0, and not allowing the Lions to reach 20 points in either set.
Eastside opened the first set of the game with high energy and tempo, scoring seven of the first ten points, including kills from juniors Addie Walters and Taylor Adams, along with an ace from senior Emma Leach.
The Eagles continued to break away in the middle of the first set, going on multiple runs of points. They finished off the first set with a kill and a block from junior Savannah Johnson to secure the 25-12 victory in the first set.
“Anytime we can serve well it carries a lot of momentum with the team,” Johnston said. “Getting those runs in the first set helped us get momentum and stay relaxed.”
The second set would not be as easy for the Eagles, as they struggled to get going after the break.
The Lions scored seven consecutive points to open the second set, finishing off with a 10-3 run, taking the momentum away that the Eagles had gained from the first set.
“I think they had just gotten a little rattled [to open the second set] on the other side of the court, we had a lot of errors,” Johnston said.
Despite the slow start to the second set, the Eagles continue to climb back slowly, eventually going on a 7-1 run to tie the game at 17-17.
“They refused to give up, and they refused to lose. They worked together and came back one point at a time,” Johnston said.
After tying the set, Eastside did not slow down. Two big kills from Adams in the last moments of the set completed a 9-3 run to take the set victory 25-21, completing the sweep over Luella.
“Collectively [the team] did good, everyone did well,” Johnston said.
After sweeping the Lions In the first game of the regional tournament, Johnston and the rest of the Eagles will look for the regional championship against Woodward Academy Saturday, October 12.