By Anthony Rhoads
When Lovejoy and Jonesboro play in volleyball this year, it's not just a county rivalry, it's a family rivalry as well.
Husband and wife duo Dan Maehlman and Laura Granger had been together at Jonesboro since the team's inaugural season in 2000 but this year, Granger is the head coach of the Lovejoy volleyball team.
Lovejoy has struggled this year with a young team but Maehlman is confident Granger can turn things around and get the Lady Wildcats on track.
"She's going to do a good job at Lovejoy," Maehlman said. "She was an outstanding playing in college and Lovejoy will be an outstanding team by the end of the season; you can guarantee it."
Even though she wants to do her best against Jonesboro, Granger admits to having mixed feelings whenever Lovejoy plays the Lady Cardinals.
"It's hard; it really is," she said. "It's tough because I was there from the start. I'm happy to see them play well. We're not in the same region and I hope they will their region and go to state again this year."
Granger played volleyball and softball and Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia. Maehlman also is an Alderson-Broaddus alumnus and he played basketball there.
Keeping score: As a former college player, Granger is glad to see the Georgia High School Association change its scoring system this year.
Georgia high school volleyball is now under ?rally scoring' like college volleyball where points can be scored regardless of which team is serving.
"I'm glad their went to rally scoring," Granger said. "It speeds up the pace of the games. It makes it more interesting for the fans and keeps the intensity up. I'm really happy with rally scoring."
Perfect so far: Jonesboro is 10-0 going into Tuesday's matches at Banneker.
Last year, Jonesboro won the Area 2-AAAAA title and went to the state playoffs.
Young team: Last year one of the reasons Eagle's Landing was able to win the Henry County championship was because of an experience squad with seven seniors.
This year's team only has one senior and seven juniors.
"We've got a young team but if we work together, we'll be successful," Eagle's Landing head coach Christine Ward said.
One junior who has emerged as a leader this year has been Hayley Ferrell, who is the team captain.
"She's really improved this year," Ward said. "I think it's because she's got it in her mindset that she's going to be a hitter and she's working on improving her game."
In last Thursday's matches against Lovejoy and Jonesboro, she had several kills and served several aces.