And when it was all said and done, it was the established and hometown Lady Lions taking the win in straight sets, 25-18, 25-13, 25-10.
After a successful three-year run at the helm for former Lady Cats head coach Tricia Goodwin, alum Carrie (Hawkins) Powell, one of the top players in GNTC's short history, was a logical choice to take over the program.
Powell, a standout at Ridgeland High School, guided Chickamauga’s Oakwood Christian Academy’s high school varsity volleyball team to an 18-2 mark and the Southeastern Christian Athletic Association championship in just their second season. This August, GNTC charged Powell with rebuilding the Lady Bobcats' program.
The first set saw Bryan get out to an 18-10 lead, but a run of service points by LFO alum Alysa Daniel got the Lady Bobcats back to within a point at 18-17. However, the Lady Lions would reel off five consecutive points of their own to regain control.
The second set saw the hosts jump out to a 12-2 lead and things would run even the rest of the way with some key touches late by LaFayette alum Candice McClain to help keep the undersized and outnumbered Lady Cats moving up the scoreboard.
Fatigue would set in during the third set as Bryan coasted to claim the victory.
Also playing key roles for GNTC in the first match of 2012 were Siouxanne Hawkins and Fallon Larmon (LaFayette), Kristine Huskey (Battlefield Parkway Christian), and Kayla Pierce (Gordon Lee).
“We are a small team right now,” Powell said. “Our tallest player stands 5-foot-7. Our best hitter is barely over 5-foot tall. We have a few challenges, but we really played well tonight. We’ll keep moving forward and keep improving.”
Depth also played a big role. While GNTC had just six players on its roster for the match, Bryan was armed with a squad of 20.
Georgia Northwestern competes in the NJCAA’s Region XVII. The Lady Cats (0-1) will host Crown College at the Rossville Athletic Center for their home opener this Friday at 7 p.m.
For more information on Lady Cats volleyball at Georgia Northwestern, contact the Office of Sports Information at (706) 764-3813 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.