102319_MNS_VB_Betsy_Moore Betsy Moore

Westminster volleyball player Betsy Moore digs a ball in a match during the 2019 season.

Four Northside-area volleyball teams are still in the hunt for Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state championships after winning in the semifinals Oct. 31.

Marist, Westminster, Pace and Holy Innocents’ each advanced to the finals Nov. 7.

In Class 4A, Marist mauled Heritage (Catoosa County) 3-0 in the semis and will face Northwest Whitfield in the finals. In Class 3A, Westminster (19-3) shut out Sonoraville 3-0 in the semis and will meet Morgan County in the finals.

“We are very excited and thankful to make it to the state finals,” Westminster coach Cat Monroe, whose team has advanced to the title match in each of her three years at the helm, said. “The team has worked hard through some setbacks (due to COVID-19), and I am proud of them for remaining focused and committed to reaching one of our collective goals of winning state.”

In Class AA/A Public, Pace (21-7) pounded Union County 3-0 in the semis and will face Gordon Lee in the finals. In Class A Private, Holy Innocents’ (33-4) blanked Athens Academy 3-0 in the semis and will battle Hebron Christian in the finals. In Class 5A, St. Pius X fell to McIntosh 3-2 in the semis.

“I'm thankful that we had a season and that we are still playing,” Pace coach Anna Bush, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, said. “Back in June/July, I didn't think we would have a season at all, so I am thankful. I am also amazed at our team's resiliency in handling all of the extra stress that surrounds us politically. There is so much anger and polarization in our world and my team has bonded because being part of a team that has the same goal has helped to bring us together.

“State championships are so exciting and different from anything we have experienced during the regular season. We have been fortunate to have been in several state championships in prior years, but we don't depend on that in our current season. Every team is different and every year our journey is different. This year has been VERY different for obvious reasons. I've always told my girls to enjoy the journey and experience because it is a rare and fleeting thing. Hopefully, they will bring their best game on Saturday. That is all we can control.”

Holy Innocents’ coach Taylor Noland added, “We are very excited to have the opportunity to have had a season and get to this point. When we started workouts in June, no one knew if volleyball would make it this far. I commend all the teams, coaches and athletic departments for helping make this possible.”

In track news, 2020 Riverwood graduate Ka’Leila Abrille, who recently competed and pole-vaulted the sixth-highest jump ever recorded by a girl in Georgia history, ranks 10th nationally in girls’ high school pole vault. She jumped 13 feet, 0.25 inches at a Pole Vault Atlanta meet in July in Atlanta. Abrille is also the only girl to jump 13 feet or higher this year and is ranked No. 1 in the state. She attends Rutgers University, where she plans to continue her pole vault career.

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