With a five-hour drive ahead of them, the Carrollton City School's fall break couldn't have come at a better time for the Lady Trojans. The two days off allow the Lady Trojans (25-8-1) to travel on Monday — without missing any school — stay overnight to be well-rested and prepared for today's 6 p.m. matchup against seventh-ranked South Effingham.
"We're on fall break [Monday] and [Tuesday], so we're headed down [Monday afternoon] so we can spend the night and don't have to travel, get off the bus tired and laggy for the game. We'll actually have some time to rest, eat and everything before we have to play," Carrollton coach Kasey Austin said.
That might be where the Carrollton luck ends. While the Lady Mustangs (34-5) are only ranked No. 7 in the state, they might be one of the hottest teams in Class AAAA right now. After last year's South Effingham squad made it to the playoffs as a four seed and were knocked out in the first round, this year's team has won 26 straight matches, went undefeated in Area 2 and haven't lost since Aug. 25.
While Austin hasn't been able to see the Lady Mustangs in action, those numbers catch one's attention.
"They seem really strong. We've only had their stats and record to go off of, which is pretty impressive. We think we match up well height-wise and hitting-wise. As long as we keep doing what we've been doing throughout the season, I expect it to be a good matchup," Austin said.
In just their second season, the Lady Trojans are building a strong fan base and support from the school and the area. That has helped this historic year — first home games in the new gym, first home playoff game, first second-round state playoff appearance — that much more special.
"It definitely puts us out there. It's great all of the people who are following us. It's good to know we have a fan base out there and people are excited about what we're doing and cheering for us," Austin said.
But they aren't ready for it to end just yet.
"We're ready. We had a good practice before we got on the bus and a team meeting. We're definitely ready. We're up for the challenge and ready for the next round," Austin said.