The Columbus volleyball team knew it had a tough task Tuesday in matches against Northside and Carver. Despite some tense moments, the Lady Blue Devils were able to walk off the court with two region victories.
The Lady Blue Devils, ranked No. 7 in Class 4A, faced off with Carver and No. 6 Northside and picked up consecutive two-set victories. The highlight of the evening was the second set against Northside (21-9) in which Columbus (21-14) fended off a Lady Patriots team determined to keep its chances alive.
“We’re proud (we won two region matches),” Columbus head coach Donna Fleming said. “The girls have been working hard, and we’ve been traveling a lot to tournaments up in Atlanta and in Birmingham. We’ve really been pushing to improve, so I was proud that they were able to take a lot of the things they’ve learned and bring it out tonight.”
Columbus appeared in control in its opening match against Northside thanks to a 25-15 victory in the first set. The situation appeared to be much of the same in the second set thanks to a quick start for the Lady Blue Devils, as they jumped out to a 5-1 advantage.
From there, Northside closed the gap to set up a contentious back-and-forth set.
As the scores ticked upward, the Lady Patriots nipped at the Lady Blue Devils’ heels, cutting Columbus’ lead to one point three different times. Northside finally got the upperhand at 19-18 and then made it a 21-19 advantage.
Northside reached a 22-20 lead at the point the Lady Blue Devils had had enough. Columbus outscored Northside 5-1 to win the set and close out the match 25-23.
“We weren’t panicking,” said Columbus junior Tierra White, who finished with nine kills, two blocks and one ace. “I was just trying to stay focused. It was really loud in the gym, and it was really competitive.”
From there, Columbus took care of Carver with 25-10 and 25-11 set victories.
The Lady Devils’ match victory was a bit of a setback for Northside. The Lady Patriots handled Carver in the first match of the day, taking two consecutive matches 25-8, 25-6.
For Fleming, one of the most enjoyable part of the matches was the energy in the Carver gym. The crowd noise was noticeable when Columbus and Northside duked it out in the final points of the second set, leaving Fleming excited for the state of the sport at the local level.
“It’s just good for volleyball in our city, to have good teams here in Columbus,” Fleming said. “I was happy there were a lot of fans, and it was exciting. I’m just happy the volleyball coaches in Columbus are doing good jobs with their teams.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports