But the month of September brought area play and a much more favorable schedule.
The Lady Cougars are now winners of 11 straight, sitting atop a rock-solid area 6AAAAAA and have championship goals on their mind once again.
“People kept asking me coming to the season if we were going to be good and I kept telling them that we were because we had some great girls coming back,” said Chattahoochee head coach Jennie Blevins, now in her fourth year at the program’s helm.
“We had to take some baby steps though because we lost some really good players and don’t have any seniors. So we put in a lot of early work making sure we were fundamentally strong.”
A year ago Chattahoochee went 43-8 and made a third straight trip to the final four of the state playoffs — losing to Whitewater 2-3 in the state semifinals.
Coming into this season, Blevins created a schedule made to match the team’s success over that time span, battling the best teams in Georgia and a number of top schools in the country.
She said the goal was to make her girls “battle tested” in a hurry and after working out some kinks in the season’s first month it has paid dividends. Chattahoochee is now one of the hottest teams in AAAAAA, ranked No. 8 in the state and undefeated in 6AAAAAA play.
Blevins said the resurgence has been led by a quartet of talented juniors — Haley Templeton, Claudia Coco, Reina Terry and Amber Evans.
“The biggest thing those girls have, beyond talent, is a great deal of teamwork. That’s something you can’t measure statistically and when the going gets tough we play well together,” Blevins said.
But the talent is there too.
Templeton, a setter, is committed to play at Miami while Coco, the team’s libero, has made her pledge to play at Tennessee. Terry is another top college prospect while Evans and freshman Lexi Kingree have been forces at middle-blocker.
Chattahoochee will host the 6AAAAAA tournament next week.