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The Eastside volleyball team celebrates after winning a point against Luella. 

COVINGTON -- The past six matches for the Eagles volleyball program haven’t been up to par in the eyes of head coach Maggie Johnston.

Entering competition with a respectable 9-4 record prior to their Aug. 22 matches against Athens Academy and Morgan County, the Eagles’ successes quickly turned into failures with losses in five of their next six matches.

Looking to get back on track in their first three Region 4-AAAA matches of the season against Salem, Luella and Hampton, the Eagles did just that.

Johnston and her Eagles did not drop a game en route to sweeps of all three opponents, 2-0, 2-0, 2-0. With their losing ways a thing of the past, Johnston hopes this is the start of a good run for her club.

“We had a really tough week last week,” Johnston said. “We had a tough practice (Monday) just to regroup and get all of the girls on the same page and working as a team again. It feels really good that they got their confidence back this week and got off to a good start tonight going 3-0.”

The Eagles (13-9, 3-0) wasted little time in taking down Salem in straight sets, 25-11, 25-6 for their first region victory of the night. Their second match slated against Luella, however, was a much more challenging victory for the Eagles.

In Set 1, the Eagles trailed on four separate occasions before pulling away late. After regaining a 15-14 lead on a Taylor Adams kill, the Eagles never trailed from that point on and won the set by eight points, 25-17.

The Eagles managed to pull away thanks to six straight points won with Addie Walters serving.

Set 2 was a similar story for the Eagles, who trailed on three separate occasions, including 11-10. Deadlocked at 15-all, the Eagles outscored the Lions 10-1 down the stretch to win the match 25-16.

“Luella is a really good team,” Johnston said. “They battled all the way up, but I think our girls just got confidence. When they have confidence, they’re really tough. They just have to learn how to show up no matter who we’re playing.”

In the nightcap against Hampton, the Eagles’ bucked a slow start in Set 1 to win 25-17. In Set 2, it was all Eagles en route to a 25-13 victory to win the match.

After finishing 9-1 in region play last season and reaching the Sweet 16, Johnston feels this Eastside team has even more talent, top-to-bottom.

“I feel like we’re the most talented that we’ve ever been,” Johnston said. “We just have to harness that and realize that we can’t take days off. We have to realize that we’re never too good to beat a team out that way. If they figure that out, it will be tough for teams to beat us.”

Sports Editor

A 2017 graduate of the University of North Georgia, Colin joined the Rockdale/Newton Citizen in March of 2018 as the papers' full-time sports editor. A 2013 graduate of Jackson County High School, Colin received a golf scholarship to Andrew College.