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Eagles clinch area championship

There is plenty of reason for Goshen fans to be celebrating, besides the the recent success on the football field.

For the first time since 2003, the Eagles have claimed the volleyball area tournament thanks to its win over Red Level Monday afternoon in Goshen.

GHS took out its 2A Area 6 foe in three-straight game, winning 25-11, 25-14 and 25-8, as the Eagles now prepare to play host to the regional tournament, which will begin this Saturday, at the Troy Sportsplex.

“It’s a pretty awesome feeling,” head coach Dee Hughes said about the area win.

“At the beginning of the season, I don’t think any of us really knew what to expect as far as how we would do this year. We were without some girls from previous season and we had some JV girls move up, but everyone played their role and did a great job.”

In the championship match, GHS was led by familiar faces in Ivia Pollard, who finished with 14 kills, and Niyoka Slater, who finished with six kills and eight aces.

The GHS back row also combined for seven kills.

The team will be headed to the regional tournament riding a 10-game winning streak and an 11-2 overall record.

The last time the Eagles dropped a match was on Sept. 4, in the Pea River Valley Tournament.

Each of the losses both took place in tri-matches as well.

“I think at this point in the season, we are just going to try to keep rolling,” Hughes said.

“Truthfully, I don’t think there is a better way to enter a tournament than to be on a winning-streak like we are. One of the biggest keys in a tournament is having confidence and that is something our girls have right now.”

While the coach has said the team’s chemistry has been a major factor in the Eagles’ success this season, the player’s skill level is the biggest reason the team is headed to regionals, according to the coach.

“Our girls do their jobs, no matter what they may be,” Hughes said.

“And it’s not just one or two players that are carrying the team – its everyone.

Brione Cowart has led the team in blocks all season long and Alli Warrick and Kaitlin Thomas are just as crucial for us. Mary Jordan has been a huge part of the success we have had this season as the setter too.”

As for the All-Area Tournament team, Slater, Jordan, Izzio and Pollard were all selected, with Pollard bring named MVP.

Leading up to Saturday’s tournament, which will be the first volleyball tournament held at the Sportsplex, Hughes said her team will practice on several things, most importantly, defensive.

“We are going to be playing against some of the best competition in the state,” the coach said.

“And because of that, we will be spending a lot of time working on different defensives and learning how to adjust to what different teams will have.”

The Eagles will take the court at 10 a.m. Saturday morning against Thorsby, while at the same time, Zion Chapel will be taking on Millry.