Columbus volleyball clinches playoff berth with two wins in area tournament

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerOctober 8, 2013 

The Columbus volleyball team played four games over the course of two matches on Tuesday in the Area 3-AAAA tournament, allowing only 28 total points and clinching a berth in the Class AAAA playoffs.

With wins over Shaw and Fayette County in the first two rounds of the tournament at Columbus High, the Lady Blue Devils earned a spot in the final four. They will play Sandy Creek at 4 p.m. Thursday with a trip to the area finals on the line.

The two matches went about as quickly and painlessly as Columbus could have hoped, scoring 25-8 and 25-3 wins over Shaw in the opener before dispatching of Fayette County 25-5, 25-12.

Against Fayette County, the Lady Blue Devils went on runs of 11 and nine points en route to the victory in the first game, surrendering back-to-back points just once. The second game was marginally more difficult, allowing a four-point run on one occasion and only notching six in a row on their own.

Over the course of the two matches, senior middle hitter Brianna Gogins, who is committed to play at Florida International, led the way with nine kills, three aces and one block. She leads the team in kills for the season.

Sophomore middle Shardonee Hayes led the team in the category on Tuesday, however, notching 11 kills and one block.

Outside hitters Natalie Twyford and Michelle Vatral recorded nine and six kills, respectively, and libero Ki’Anna Duncan had 24 digs. Madison Fleming had 39 assists, five aces and eight digs on the day.

The wins put the Lady Blue Devils back in the right column after losing their regular-season finale to Class AAAAAA Chattahoochee.

The final rounds of the area tournament will be played on Thursday at Sandy Creek.

Columbus will play the Lady Patriots, and Fayette County will play Troup. The loser of the latter will be eliminated, while the winner will face the Columbus-Sandy Creek loser in an elimination game.

The final two remaining will play the finals at 6:30 Thursday night in a best-of-five sets match. All four have clinched playoff berths, with the final rounds to determine seeding.

Shaw High, which entered the tournament as a No. 7 seed, fell to Columbus in the first round and Banneker in the loser’s bracket, which eliminated it from contention and ended its season.

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Tuesday at Columbus

Shaw 8 3

Columbus 25 25


Banneker 18 25 25

Shaw 25 15 10


Fayette County 5 12

Columbus 25 25

Team Leaders: Columbus, Brianna Gogins 9 kills 3 aces, 1 block; Shardonee Hayes 11 kills 1 block; Natalie Twyford 9 kills, 3 digs; Michelle Vatral 6 kills, 1 dig; Ki’Anna Duncan 24 digs; Madison Fleming 39 assists, 5 aces, 8 digs. Records: Columbus, 36-12. Next: Columbus, 4 p.m. Thursday vs. Sandy Creek in Area 3-AAAA tournament at Sandy Creek.

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