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After going winless for roughly 10 years, Georgetown girls volleyball has turned it around

Georgetown Volleyball

As of Sept. 9, the Georgetown High School girls volleyball team is 10-2 overall and 1-1 in region play, and is poised to make the AAA playoffs for a second year in a row after having not won a game in roughly 10 years prior to 2021. Provided.

GEORGETOWN — Georgetown High School girls volleyball hadn’t won a game in roughly 10 years.

Then Mattie Drinkwater came along and turned the ship around.

In her third year as the head coach of the Bulldogs, Drinkwater has the team sitting at 10-2 overall and, if the team’s winning ways continue, is poising it for another crack at the playoffs.

Georgetown went 0-9 in her first year as head coach in 2020, but some of that had to do with COVID-19.

“It was the start of COVID and it was a nightmare, basically, because we could not practice like we normally would have and had to be in smaller groups,” Drinkwater said. “…Our season was actually cut short because of COVID, so we only really played half of a season.”

In addition to that, Drinkwater said she had to build the program from the bottom up when she took over with her assistant coach, Mary Ann Owens, because the team “just didn’t have a coaching staff that was willing to put forth what they needed in order to play the game.”

Drinkwater’s second season at the helm in 2021 proved to be a little more successful, with the Bulldogs going 4-9 overall and 2-6 in region play, which was good enough to make the AAA playoffs. Georgetown would lose at Gilbert High School in the first round, but the fact that the team even made the playoffs was an accomplishment in itself given how far it had come. It was the first time the team had made the postseason in over a decade.

“They played their best, but Gilbert was a very, very strong team,” Drinkwater said.

This season has proven to be the breakout year for Georgetown volleyball, with the Bulldogs posting a 10-2 overall record and a 1-1 region record so far.

That success stems back to when Drinkwater spent her first season helping her team break bad habits that they were previously not coached to break.

“I had to literally start from the bottom up and re-teach these girls fundamentals,” Drinkwater said. “…They’ve come a long way in their skills, so a lot of these girls that I’ve had since my first year have just grown exponentially.”

Some of the key players on this year’s Georgetown team have been senior middle Ally Welch, junior outside hitter Braelynn Brewington, junior libero Ellbie Daniels, junior setter Carrie Owens and freshman middle Harper Moore.

The Bulldogs will get a good test before the playoffs begin when they travel to Philip Simmons High School in Charleston on Oct. 8 for a tournament to which they have not previously been. The AAA playoffs begin on Oct. 19.

Drinkwater outlined what her team needs to accomplish to make a deeper run in the postseason this year.

“I think we really need to focus on lessening our mistakes, playing with our head, (having) more court awareness, reading the court, understanding what needs to be done,” Drinkwater said. “And then just (having) positive, positive energy. Always.”

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