Pace Academy has established itself as a dominant force in Georgia high school volleyball over the last half decade with five consecutive state championships to its credit.
The Knights have picked up where they left off with a perfect 21-0 record and 2-0 mark in Area 5AAAA as well as being ranked No. 1 in the state in the ScoreAtlanta Class AAAA poll as of Sept. 8.
Leading the way this year is new coach Cat Monroe, who took over the Pace program after four successful years at Westminster where she led the Wildcats to the Class AAA state title in 2020.
Monroe takes over a successful Pace Academy program that has won state championships in Class AAA in 2017, ’18 and ’19 and AA/A Public in ’20 and ’21 as well as finishing runner-up in AAA in ’16.
However, Monroe and her Pace squad face the tough challenge of playing in a higher classification this season as the Knights move up from AA/A Public to AAAA.
“The depth of talent in AAAA is considerably higher,” Monroe said. “The girls obviously know how to win a state championship and know that they will have to potentially be facing harder competition more consistently, so we started focusing on that kind of intense, sustaining, disciplined approach from day one. We’ve had a very difficult schedule to start off with, a very competitive schedule, and they won 21 straight matches, while dropping only a handful of individual sets. So, I think they’re making their own mark, their own history, kind of setting the tone this year.”
Junior outside hitters Grace Agolli and Ellie Siskin, senior middle hitter Briea Craft, junior libero Dhru Lalaji and freshman defensive specialist Gabby Emch have led the way for the Knights this season.
“This group of girls is so exceptionally talented,” Monroe said. “I have five freshmen on the team and many of which start, so that says a lot about the talent pool at the school, generally speaking, for volleyball.”