“We are going into the area tournament ranked second,” Lincoln head coach Patty Hansen stated. “We have to play Munford. So, of course, we’re hoping to defeat them and continue on into the playoffs. All the girls have got to step up and play and do their part and make it a good night.”
If the team gets a win against Munford, they would advance to play the winner of the match between Cleburne County and Anniston. More importantly, a win would ensure they would advance to the super-regionals as one of the top two teams in their area.
“For us, it’s real important,” Hansen said. “We’ve gone to either the regionals or the super-regionals—either one of those have been the next step after area—for the last eight years. We’ve done that, so we do want to continue to work hard and hopefully be playing in the super regional in Huntsville. If we get there, there is a lot of tough play there. So, we’ve got a lot of work within the next week and hopefully we’ll be continuing to play after Tuesday.”
Lincoln has not lost a match to Munford this season, but Hansen said the Lady Lions will most certainly prove to be a challenge. However, playing a team that is both an area and a county opponent could be seen as an advantage.
“I think it does help,” Hansen said. “We’ve played them several times including county play. So, we know each other very well. Munford is a good team. We’ve got to definitely play well against them and make sure that we’re doing everything we can to play to the best of our ability.”
The Lady Golden Bears started out the season 0-9, but the team has progressively gotten better over the course of the season. The team finished in second place at this year’s county tournament, which included big wins against Winterboro, Sylacauga and Munford. They finished runner-up after a hard-fought final against Talladega, a team that is hosting their area tournament Tuesday. Hansen hopes that the team has saved their best play for the final portion of the season.
“We’re looking better every day, I think,” Hansen said.
“We started out slow this year. As the season has progressed, I think we’ve done a lot of things right. We’re getting better each day and working harder. They do see the importance of each and every girl stepping up and playing every day. If any of our girls are a little off, it makes it difficult to pull out the wins. So far this season, we’ve played 53 matches. That’s a lot of matches to play in one season. It’s probably one of the most match-filled seasons I’ve played in several years. We’re hoping that all those matches—even though there were more losses than wins—I’m hoping that experience and playing time will is going to help us next week.”
Lincoln plays Munford at Cleburne County Tuesday at 6 p.m.