The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state volleyball championship reached the finals Nov. 2, with several local programs in contention for a title. The results weren’t available at the Neighbor’s deadline.
The Class 3A championship match held at McEachern in Powder Springs pitted two local rivals against each other in Pace and Westminster.
The Knights reached the finals after earning a 3-0 (25-12, 25-10, 25-6) home win over Greater Atlanta Christian (GAC) Oct. 29. Pace served 11 aces with only two errors. The Knights also amassed 37 kills while only having seven attack errors.
“We served really tough, which put GAC out of (its) system,” Pace coach Anna Bush said. “We also received service and played exceptional defense. I always think those are the factors that give us the most chance of success. I never felt GAC was able to get in a rhythm. A great effort all around.”
The Knights were the second seed from Area 4AAA and defeated Kendrick, Ringgold, Cherokee Bluff and GAC to reach the finals.
Westminster was the top seed from Area 4AAA and defeated Jackson County 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-7) Oct. 29.
“At this point in the season, it is all about the mindset and strategic problem solving,” Wildcats coach Catherine Monroe said. “The girls have a solid foundation and a competitive mindset so they just need to remain calm and confident. Mary Emily Morgan has been one of our big go-to’s offensively, and I am sure will be the player to try to stop. Ashley Vincent is also an athlete that teams will need to stop to gain a competitive advantage. Soumia Vellanki is an undersized middle that works extremely hard and will be a game changer.
“Chloe Emch is a smart and athletic setter that is able to make plays happen. She will need to continue to evaluate match-ups in the moment and make the most effective set. Betsy Moore has been our starting libero for two years, and she is solid in big games. She reads the game well and has one of our strongest serves. In short, this team works well together and they are truly at the point where ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’’.
Westminster defeated Peach County, Morgan County, Calhoun and Jackson County to reach the finals.
St. Pius X advanced to the Class 4A finals in Marietta and faced Blessed Trinity. The Golden Lions defeated Lafayette 3-0 (25-20, 20-19, 20-14) in the semifinals Oct. 29. St. Pius X was the top seed from Region 8AAAA and defeated Ridgeland, Druid Hills and Northside (Columbus) before the Lafayette match.
The GHSA state softball tournament took place in Columbus Oct 24 through 26, with three local teams battling for titles.
Wesleyan reached the Class A Private state championship game for the fourth consecutive year after winning the title in 2017 and 2018. The Wolves weren’t as fortunate this season, falling to Mount de Sales 2-0 in the title contest Oct. 26. Wesleyan finished the season with a school-record 32 wins.
“I’m really proud of our girls for an outstanding season,” Wolves coach Mary Stephenson said. “We showed great resilience battling through the loser’s bracket to make it into the state championship game. I’m especially proud of our senior class — Madison Kerpics, Jahni Kerr and Emma-Kate Means — who had extraordinary careers, playing in the state championship game each season of their career.
“More than that, the grit, fight and resolve the team showed throughout the tournament is a testament to their strong leadership. I’m as proud of this team as any I’ve ever coached. They are a very special group, and it’s been a privilege to coach them.”
Marist placed second in the Class 4A tournament, falling to Heritage (Catoosa) in the championship game 6-3 Oct. 26.
Lovett finished third in the Class 3A tournament, its highest placement in program history. The Lions were eliminated by eventual champion Ringgold 6-6-3 in loser’s bracket final Oct. 26.