• Columbia High varsity volleyball players rally around assistant coaches Heather Benson-Durr and Wayne Andrews during a timeout in a game against Gainesville Eastside played in a tournament at Bell High School Saturday. The Lady Tigers opened the season 2-0 with wins against Gainesville-Oak Hall and Eastside (COURTESY).
    Columbia High varsity volleyball players rally around assistant coaches Heather Benson-Durr and Wayne Andrews during a timeout in a game against Gainesville Eastside played in a tournament at Bell High School Saturday. The Lady Tigers opened the season 2-0 with wins against Gainesville-Oak Hall and Eastside (COURTESY).

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Columbia goes 2-0 in preseason play

Lady Tigers off to strong start

BELL — Columbia High’s varsity volleyball team roared out of the gate Saturday afternoon, winning its first two games of the season in a round-robin tournament at Bell High School.

 

The Lady Tigers defeated Gainesville-Oak Hall and Gainesville Eastside in back-to-back matches Saturday.

 

CHS opened the day against Oak Hall and outlasted the Eagles in five sets for the victory. Columbia won 25-23, 25-23, 10-25, 18-25 and 15-13 to close out the victory.

 

The Lady Tigers jumped out to a strong two-set lead, then allowed Oak Hall to come back and tie the match. Varsity volleyball matches are decided by winning three of five sets. Teams play to 25 and must win by two points. If a fifth set is needed to determine the winner, the teams play to 15 points and the winner must win by two.

 

“We jumped out and played really strong and had a good lead, then our girls took a little break, relaxed a bit and let Oak Hall back in it,” said Columbia assistant coach Wayne Andrews, who assisted junior varsity coach Heather Benson-Durr in the season opener Saturday. “After it was tied, our girls challenged themselves and we came back and won.”

 

Varsity head coach Trudy Andrews was handling a family matter and did not attend the game. Coach Wayne Andrews said he saw a lot of positives from the Lady Tigers in the season opener.

 

“This team is still learning to play together,” Wayne Andrews said. “We battled through against a very good Oak Hall team with some very good hitters and we won a close game in a very positive way.”

 

CHS (2-0) will field a balanced team this season that Andrews said can show versatility and strength everywhere.

 

“We had kills all around and that’s good offensively,” he said. “Our team defense, so far, has been better than we expected at this point of the season. We had a lot of digs and our team coordination is starting to come around.”

 

In the second game, Columbia throttled Gainesville-Eastside in straight sets 25-9, 25-16, and 25-10.

 

“We kept our intensity up and good things happened,” Andrews said. “As long as these girls keep working together and working hard, great things can happen to this team. I’m very proud of the way we played all day.”

 

The Lady Tigers head back to Bell High School on Monday for a JV and varsity tilt against the small-school volleyball powerhouse Lady Bulldogs. Games are set for 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Monday.

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