BY DOUG GORMAN
The East Coweta volleyball team dethroned two-time champion Newnan Thursday night at the annual Coweta County Cup in a match played in the Lady Indians own gym.
East Coweta knocked off Northgate (25-13 25-15) in its first match of the day and then beat Newnan in a dramatic 25-19, 25-21 decision.
Newnan tuned up for its showdown with East Coweta by beating Northgate 25-16 and 25-20.
The night was dedicated to the memory of volleyball coach Amber McClure-Fayerweather who lost her shot battle with cancer this summer.
McClure-Fayerweather spent three seasons at East Coweta and led them to the final four in 2015 before heading to Harrison High School where the Lady Hoyas won back-to-back state championships.
McClure-Fayerweather had just been named the head coach at Newnan when she was diagnosed with cancer.
With McClure-Fayerweather’s husband Kevin and parents Jim and Marsha in attendance, it was announced that the trophy that goes to the winning county champion would now be named after the coach.
The match between East Coweta and Newnan counted toward the Region 2 7A standings.
With the sweep of Newnan and Northgate, East Coweta improved to 16-8 overall and 4-0 in region play.
Newnan dropped to 12-4 overall and 2-1 in region play.
Northgate dropped to 14-12 overall.
After guiding his team to the title, East Coweta head coach Paul Collins has won 699 matches in a career that also included time at Sandy Creek.
"They are all special, but this one is really special," he said.
In the match between East Coweta and Newnan, the Lady Cougars went up 7-3 in the first set. and led by as much as 13-8. The Lady Indians, however, stormed back. by some solid serving from Emily Jimerson.
The Lady Indians tied the first set at 13-all.
East Coweta increased the lead to 15-13, but again Newnan rallied. A kill from Morgan Sestrich and cut the lead to 15-14.
Solid defensive play by the Lady Indians helped them close out the first set with a 10-4 run.
Newnan did't roll over easily in the second set as it tried to extend the match with East Coweta,
After East Coweta took a 19-16 lead, the Lady Cougars tied the match at 19 and 20-all before the Lady Indians prevailed to claim the county title.
In the first set of the day, between East Coweta and Northgate, the two teams changed leads a couple of times, but after a 6-6 tie, East Coweta lead for good getting some strong serving from Saddie Buckalew.
A kill from Maddie Stewart helped East Coweta pull out to a 15-7 lead and the East Coweta went on to outscore Northgate 10-6 to win set one.
Strong serving from Nahia Muhammad gave East Coweta the momentum in the second set as the squad rolled to a 5-0 lead.
Emily Dozier helped bring Northgate back with some winning serves trimming the lead to 6-4.
Later in the set, Northgate cut the lead to 16-14, but East Coweta regained the momentum and closed out the match with a 9-1 run.
In both sets of the Newnan and Northgate match, the two teams took turns trading the lead. There were also several ties in the second set.
Newnan's Mary Beth and Madison Headley each had key points for the Lady Cougars and Alaya Lalgh and Kameryn Halpin each contributed to the Northgate first-set rallies.
The second set was competitive battle with both teams exchanging the momentum with lead changes and ties.
After Northgate took a 12-11 lead, East Coweta stormed back and regained the lead at 14-12.
The two teams continued to battle through some hard-fought points, with East Coweta winning the match and the set with a 9-8 run.
"We know we are going to see Newnan again, so we can't overlook anything," Collins said.