Harlem High School volleyball coach Mike Hopkins seemed a little confused Tuesday.
His Bulldogs had won all of their matches against region opponents before Tuesday, but they were swept by Columbia County rivals Lakeside and Evans in four games in the Panthers' gym.
"I don't know if it's a mental thing with these schools," Hopkins said. "We're beating everybody else."
Four of the Bulldogs' six starters are basketball players. Harlem got help when two Glenn Hills players moved to the school before the season.
The team isn't lacking for talent, hence Hopkins' confusion.
"They're a good team and athletic," Evans coach Lane Schuckers said. "They're scary as all get-out."
Hopkins said the team just needed to work on its chemistry and expected to have it worked out soon.
"Good athletes, good players -- little teamwork," he said.
The Knights had little trouble dispatching the Bulldogs in their first match. The Knights had a 9-3 overall record after Tuesday.
The win against the Bulldogs counted toward Evans' region record, but the Knights' loss to Lakeside did not.
Only the final two meetings count toward region, and the Panthers and Knights were slated to play twice more, including the final match of the season.
The Panthers cruised to a 2-0 win over the Knights on Tuesday, with scores of 25-13, 25-14.
"They run a lot of screens," Shuckers said. "We'll figure that out. They're a good team -- well-coached."
The stands were full Friday, a couple of weeks after Lakeside coach Danielle Gonzalez called for more fans in the seats. But the majority of those in attendance were from Evans.
It didn't seem to deter the Panthers. And Gonzalez went as far as to compliment the Knights' faithful on their politeness.
Her team is cruising along, with an 11-0 record against region teams after Tuesday's matches.
"They communicate well," Gonzalez said. "They're working hard. And they're having fun."
The county sweep was the Panthers' first action since dropping three of four matches during a Sept. 20 play date.
"We definitely came out a lot stronger because of it," Gonzalez said.
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