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Lady Mustangs hitting their stride at perfect time
Lady Mustangs volleyball
Lady Mustangs Mary Taylor (from left), Kayla Arnold, Katie Cartrette, Michaela Zorbo, Emily Schuman and Ginger Vorel celebrate winning a point late in their Oct. 1 match at Effingham County. They won the third set 15-1. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — It’s been a yo-yo season for South Effingham’s volleyball team. The Lady Mustangs are on the upswing at the perfect time, however.

South Effingham is winning more frequently heading into Saturday’s Region 2-AAAAA tournament at Statesboro. It is set to close the regular season Tuesday at Islands.

“They are trying to make me older than I am, I think,” South Effingham head coach Chancey Garrett said with a smile following a three-set win over Effingham County on Oct. 1. “My heart is going to give out.”

That Effingham County match was symbolic of the Lady Mustangs’ 2019 campaign. They won the first set 25-10 after racing to an 8-0 advantage. Then they dropped the next set 25-17 after falling behind 8-0.

“It’s like a mental game,” Garrett said. “We have struggled with our mental game this year.”

In the final set, the Lady Mustangs reverted to their early form, jumping to a 9-0 lead before winning 15-1. They were powered by Mary Taylor, Kayla Arnold, Katie Cartrette, Michaela Zorbo, Emily Schuman and Ginger Vorel.

“We have several different lineups that we kind of rotate through and I think that now we are starting to hit the point where we can be strong with any lineup,” Garrett said. “If we have a player that is not feeling well or needs to come out in any lineup, we are starting to get stronger. We lapsed a little bit  in the second set of the Effingham County game but then they were able to put that behind them mentally and pick it right back up for that third set and do what they know how to do.

“That is the team I am used to seeing in practices and all the hard work so it is good to see it out on the court as well.”

The Lady Mustangs were 16-15 after defeating Effingham County.

“It’s been a pretty back-and-forth season in terms of wins and losses but I do think this is more than just a score to a game,” Garrett said. “Since about midseason — we kind of hit a slump — we have turned it around and I have seen so much improvement in every single girl since then across the board.  I am excited when it pays off with wins, which it has been lately.”

 The Lady Mustangs hope to avenge a couple of losses to top-seeded Statesboro during the region tournament.

“We are gearing up for that game,” Garrett said. “We are looking for an upset.”