STOCKBRIDGE — Ola entered the Henry County volleyball championship last Thursday determined to prove it was back to the form that won three straight titles from 2008-10.
Then the Lady Mustangs lost their first match.
But unlike last year — when a first-round loss led to Ola plummeting out of contention — the Lady Mustangs rallied and reclaimed the county championship with a 19-25, 26-24, 25-15, 25-18 victory over Union Grove in the finals Saturday at Woodland.
“It kind of reaffirmed that we were doing things right,” Ola coach Joe Caldwell said. “Last year we were young and still working. We didn’t have that excuse this year. We wanted to make sure and prove that we’re a good volleyball team, that all our talent hadn’t graduated.”
Ola (27-9) proved that. After an 18-25, 22-25 loss to Woodland on Thursday, the Lady Mustangs never lost again.
On its way to the championship, Ola defeated Eagle’s Landing (25-14, 25-10), Dutchtown (25-19, 25-11), Strong Rock Christian (22-25, 26-24, 25-22), Woodland (25-19, 25-21), Locust Grove (25-23, 25-15) and Union Grove.
“After the last tri-matches, we played as well as we have all season against Woodland, Locust Grove and Union Grove,” Caldwell said. “We were doing all the little things right, not giving away any points.”
The win against Union Grove got some revenge for Ola’s loss to the Lady Wolverines last Tuesday during an Area 4-AAAAA tri-match. The Lady Mustangs lost in a tight 26-24, 21-25, 24-26 match. Then Ola lost to No. X-ranked McIntosh, 19-25, 7-25.
Caldwell said it wasn’t the way he hoped his team would enter the county tournament.
But now, after six straight victories and another year to be called county champions, Caldwell likes how his team is playing as it gets set to host the day of the area tournament Thursday.
“We just didn’t have as many mental errors,” Caldwell said. “We kind of talked about that. We kind of talked about how important it was to make sure we take care of business.”