The CSRA Volleyball Tournament won't become fodder for an historical novel, but the championship match Tuesday at Augusta Preparatory Day Schools' Boardman Gymnasium easily could have been titled The Killer Angels.
Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, based on the Battle of Gettysburg, focused on the blue and the gray.
When Augusta Prep faced Alleluia Community Schools in the finals of the four-team, two-day tournament, the Killer Angels left the Lady Cavaliers black and blue.
The Alleluia Angels swept the best-of-five match, and the war at Boardman Gymnasium was decidedly uncivil, as the invaders marched in and seized the trophy by scores of 15-9, 15-11, 15-10.
''You've got to take your hat off to them. They came into our gym and beat us twice. You can't argue with that," Augusta Prep coach Robert Morris said of the Angels, who also topped Prep in pool play. ''We played real tight; especially when we play them, we have a tendency to play not to lose instead of playing to win."
Alleluia also beat Augusta Prep in 2000.
This year's event began Monday with pool play featuring two-game matches and rally scoring to 11. Teams were then seeded according to record, with second-round action using regular scoring and a best-of-three format.
Augusta Prep and Alleluia advanced to Tuesday's finals, where the Angels' middle hitter Mary Kate Molitor and setter Catherine Balducci took control. Molitor and Balducci each were selected to the all-tournament team, and Molitor was voted the tournament's most valuable player.
Coach Morris attempted to counter with numerous substitutions, but the ploy was akin to Pickett's charge: plenty of effort which still couldn't prevent the inevitable.
''We tried to match up by rotating players in. We lost offense because we were trying to put defense in to counteract (Molitor)," Morris said. ''We didn't play real smart volleyball. I think a lot of that is we're still young."
The 2001 season was a learning process for Augusta Prep. The Lady Cavaliers had only three seniors on the roster - Bizzy Fain, Caroline Osborne and Lizzy Lanier - yet still finished with a 29-17 record.
While the Lady Cavaliers closed the 2001 campaign with a disappointing defeat, Morris isn't just whistling Dixie when he says the Augusta Prep volleyball program is on the rise.
Of Prep's 15 players, 12 will return next year, including outside hitter Coles Hull, who was selected to the CSRA all-tournament team. Additionally, the Lady Cavaliers junior varsity volleyball team finished with a 19-4 record while competing primarily against varsity opponents.
''Three of the players will go right into basketball season and the others into club volleyball," Morris said. ''We'll take a week or two off and then start practicing all over again."
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