Jonesboro, Ola defend county titles

By Doug Gorman

and Brian Paglia

The Jonesboro High School volleyball team didn't start out to dominate the Clayton County volleyball tournament.

Some how things have headed in that direction.

After losing the first ever county event 11 years ago, Jonesboro head coach Dan Maehlman has guided his team to 10-straight county titles.

It happened again Saturday when the Lady Cardinals won three matches, including a four-game contest against Forest Park in the championship. The Lady Cardinals had revenge on their minds after falling to the Lady Panthers earlier in the week.

In the championship game, Jonesboro beat Forest Park 25-23, 21-25, 25-22, 25-10.

Earlier in the day, the Lady Cardinals defeated Morrow (25-10, 25-14) and Lovejoy (25-15, 25-16).

"We didn't start out to dominate the county," Maehlman said. "It is nice to see how far we have come and to hear other people talk about it."

Forest Park made it to the finals by sweeping Mt. Zion and Drew.

For the Lady Cardinals, winning the county title has become a priority.

"We set three goals at the beginning of the season," Maehlman said. "We want to win the county title, win the region and advance and get as far as possible at the state meet."

With one goal now out of the way, the Lady Cardinals now attempt to conqure the last two objectives on the list, starting with the Area 4-AAAA tournament. The event starts Thursday at Woodland High School and resumes on Saturday.

Lady Mustangs win again

Against a familiar foe, Ola won its third straight county title.

The Lady Mustangs faced Union Grove twice Saturday, first sending the Lady Wolverines to the elimination bracket, then sending them home with second place, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23, in the championship match.

"It was a pretty awesome feeling," Ola coach Lonnie Wheeler said. "The girls sometimes care more about the county championship than any other since they know all the players on the other team, play against them on club and so on and so forth."

It was the fourth match between Ola (36-12, 6-0 Area 4S-AAAA) and Union Grove (36-12, 5-1) this season. The schools split two early meetings in August, though Ola won the match that mattered, on Aug. 24, that counted toward area play.

The Lady Mustangs didn't lose a game in five matches in the county tournament. They defeated Dutchtown (25-15, 25-23) and Stockbridge (25-8, 25-10) on Friday, and Strong Rock Christian (25-14, 25-23) and Union Grove on Saturday.

Wheeler said facing Union Grove twice in one day was a particular challenge, especially against a Lady Wolverines team that has won tournaments in Decatur and Conyers this season.

"It's just tough to keep that motivation up for that long," Wheeler said. "We won the first two (games) in the final. I told them I wasn't going to beat my head on the floor if it went to a fourth or fifth game, because it's just so tough to do that. I just told them how sweet it would be if we just totally swept them."

And they did.

Ola returns to action Saturday for the second round of the Area 4-AAAA tournament at Woodland. The Lady Mustangs earned a bye for Thursday's first round as the No. 1 seed.