Lady Cardinals win second consecutive county volleyball tournament

By Doug Gorman

The Jonesboro Lady Cardinals volleyball team won the Clayton County tournament for the second year in a row with an impressive sweep of Mundy's Mill (25-8, 25-15) in the championship round Saturday night at North Clayton High School.

Jonesboro, which didn't lose a regular-season match last season, is trying to duplicate that feat again in the 2004 season.

Jonesboro beat Lovejoy, Morrow and Mundy's Mill twice in the tournament to improve its record to 20-0.

"It was a good tournament for us," said Jonesboro coach Dan Mahelman. "When this team tends to get a little bit rattled, they have the ability to bounce back and fight through it."

Mundy's Mill made it to the tournament finals for the first time in school history. The Lady Tigers set up the historic match with Jonesboro by beating third-place finishing Morrow in a three-game match.

The Lady Tigers also beat Forest Park and Mt. Zion.

In both games of the championship, Mundy's Mill took the lead only to watch Jonesboro rally back to take control of the match.

Trailing 3-1 early in the first game of the best two-out-of-three match, Jonesboro stormed back by outscoring the Lady Tigers 24-5 down the stretch.

With Shanice Smith serving, the Lady Cardinals rattle off five straight points to take a 6-3 lead.

Jonesboro never trailed again.

Mundy's Mill cut the gap to two points at 6-4, but could get no closer.

Jonesboro grabbed control of the first game by scoring 13 straight points paced by the serving of Latrice Johnson. The Lady Cardinals increased the lead to 19-4 during the run.

Mundy's mill cut the gap to 19-6, but from there, the two teams exchanged points the rest of the way as Jonesboro easily closed out the match.

In the second game, the Lady Tigers grabbed the early momentum behind the play of Shanick Clark, who helped her squad grab a 5-1 lead behind one blistering ace.

The Lady Tigers increased the score to 7-2, but the five-point difference was the team's biggest margin.

Jonesboro outscored the Lady Tigers 9-3 during the next 12 points to grab a 11-10 lead. It was Jonesboro's first lead of the match, and they never trailed again.

The Lady Cardinals closed out the match with a 14-5 run.

Despite the loss, Mundy's Mill head coach Judith Williams was pleased with the way her team performed.

"We really communicated as a team today," she said. "We are still a young team, but I think we are making great progress."