WSN, TRM volleyball preview postseason high stakes
Published 12:39 pm Monday, September 18, 2006
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
They have yet to meet this season, but starting Tuesday the W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles and T.R. Miller Lady Tigers volleyball teams will get to know each other quite well over the next month.
Tuesday's match, which will be played at T.R. Miller, will be the first of four encounters between the teams. They will hook up again Oct. 7 in the Escambia County Tournament at Flomaton and again Oct. 12 at W.S. Neal.
The fourth meeting will be the most important, as it will come Oct. 17 in the opening round of the Class 4A Area 2 Tournament. The winner of that match will land a berth in the Area championship game as well as a berth in the regional tournament. The loser of that game will have its season come to and end because the state has switched from a double elimination format to single elimination for Area play this season.
Actually the fourth meeting between the teams has not “officially” been set, but it has been set in stone from an unofficial standpoint.
Andalusia will grab the top seed as well as a first-round bye. The Lady Bulldogs are a perfect 3-0 against W.S. Neal and T.R. Miller with two wins over the Lady Blue Eagles and one victory over the Lady Tigers. Andalusia won each of those matches in straight sets.
T.R. Miller coach Sharon Peacock indicated the winner of Tuesday's match will grab the number two seed, while the loser will be third.
The top seed and first-round bye for Andalusia will be huge. With the field having just three teams, the top seed is already guaranteed a berth in the championship game as well as a ticket to the regional. On top of that, Andalusia will have to play just one match, while the T.R. Miller-W.S. Neal winner will have to play back-to-back. Fatigue could be a factor for both of those teams against Andalusia if their first-round match is a lengthy one in the best-of-five format.
Last season T.R. Miller made some history when it won its first Area championship and its first game at the regional tournament. W.S. Neal hopes this year will be its turn. Not only have the Lady Blue Eagles never advanced to the regional, they have never won a postseason game in their four previous years of competition.
In order for W.S. Neal to accomplish those feats for the first time, it will have to do something else for the first time, which is beat T.R. Miller. Of course, the Lady Blue Eagles hope to accomplish that task before the Area Tournament arrives.