With 20 geared up collegiate student-athletes on the other side of the net from Georgia Northwestern’s in their season-opener Wednesday night, you’d have to think numbers would play a part in deciding the debut match of the 2012 schedule. But the two-hour trip out of Georgia to Rhea County, Tennessee took much longer than the drive time it took to cover 100+ miles that Google Maps calculated.
It wouldn’t figure the time it takes to go from SEC spoilers just two years ago, through tough times just one year ago which put the program on temporary hiatus, to the re-unveiling of the Lady Bobcats Volleyball squad at GNTC in 2012.
Counting the drive up Highway 27, the trip to the match Wednesday night would take two years and two hours to see a half-dozen Lady Cats unload into Summers Gymnasium and prepare for Bryan College’s Lady Lions.
The four-year volleyball program had its hands full with the Lady Cats visiting Summers Gymnasium. In the end, the Lady Lions would take the match, 25-18, 25-13, 25-10.
After a successful three year run at the helm for former Lady Cats head coach Tricia Goodwin, there was almost really no other direction it was a logical choice to sign one of Georgia Northwestern’s top players in program history in alum Carrie Hawkins-Powell to be the new head coach.
Powell, a Ridgeland High School grad and tri-state area standout throughout her prep career made history from the bench on the prep ranks last season. The former six-foot setter was brought in a year ago to help guide Chickamauga, Georgia’s Oakwood Christian Academy’s high school varsity volleyball venture in North Georgia. Powell led the Lady Eagles to an 18-2 match mark in their 2011 campaign.
This August, Georgia Northwestern officially brought Powell back into the fold giving her the challenge of building up the Lady Cats program. The challenge officially started in Dayton, Tennessee Wednesday as the six first-year players would take on Bryan College and its squad of twenty.
Game one started off with the Lady Cats holding a 6-4 lead. A long run of Lady Lion conversions took the game to 18-10, Bryan. A quick timeout by Georgia Northwestern would lead to a long-standing service by Lady Cat Alysa Daniel (LFO) bringing the match to 18-17, Bryan.
The four-year power would regroup late in the first game running off five straight before Powell would call GNTC’s second timeout of the opening round at the 23-17 mark. The steady stream of 14 different subs would help Bryan win the first game, 25-18.
In game 2, the hosts would jump out to a 12-2 lead. Things would run even the rest of the way with some key touches by Candice McClain (LaFayette) late in the game to help keep the undersized and outnumbered Lady Cats moving up the scoreboard. Kill shots late in the game by the Lady Lion front line would put the game away, 25-13.
The Bobcat Six would hustle hard through a third road game in the match but fatigue would set in as Bryan would take game three, 25-10, in route to a sweep the Cats.
Also playing key roles in the first match of 2012 were Siouxanne Hawkins and Fallon Larmon (LaFayette), Kristine Huskey (Battlefield Parkway Christian), and Kayla Pierce (Gordon Lee). “We are a small team right now,” said Powell. “Our tallest player stands 5-foot-7. Our best hitter is barely over 5-foot-tall. We have a few challenges. But we really played well tonight. We’ll keep moving forward and keep improving.”
Georgia Northwestern competes in the N JCAA’s Region XVII covering the southeast. The Lady Cats (0-1, 0-3) will host Crown College at The R.A.C. for their home opener on Friday at 7 p.m.
For more information on Lady Cats Volleyball at Georgia Northwestern, contact the Office of Sports Information at 706.764.3813 or email to email@example.com. Georgia Northwestern has five campuses across Northwest Georgia directly serving nine different counties in the Peach State.
Bryan College 25 25 25
Georgia 18 13 10