Pace volleyball champs

Pace Academy celebrates their fifth consecutive state volleyball championship during 2021 GHSA State 2A-1A Public Volleyball State Championship Nov. 6, 2021.

Pace Academy, Marist and St. Pius X each came away with championships in their classifications as the state volleyball playoffs came to an end Sat. Nov. 6.

Pace won the Class AA championship – the fifth consecutive state title for the Knights – while Marist won its second straight AAAA title and St. Pius X took the AAAAA crown – its first championship since 2018.

The championship games for each classification were played at LakePoint Sports Champions Center in Emerson.

The AA title belongs to Pace (27-17) after defeating Gordon Lee 3-games-to-0 in the championship game. The Knights won the first two sets 28-20 and 25-16, then lost the third set 25-22 before winning the fourth set 25-21 to clinch the game and the AA crown.

It is the second consecutive AA title for Pace, which won the state championship in Class AAA three years in a row before that (2017-19).

Pace didn’t lose a single set in the first four rounds, defeating Chattooga in the first round Oct. 20, Woodville-Tompkins in the second round Oct. 23, Bremen in the quarterfinals Oct. 27 and Union County in the semifinals Oct. 30.

Senior Megan Hardesty and Julia Holmes, Junior Briea Craft and sophomores Ellie Siskin and Dhru Lalaji led the way for the Knights.

Marist (19-15) clinched the AAAA championship after defeating Flowery Branch 3-1 in the title contest. The War Eagles won the first set 25-18 and lost the second set 25-23 before coming back to win the next two sets 25-15 and 25-22 to take the victory and their seventh state crown overall.

Like Pace, Marist won its first four games of the state playoffs 3-0. The War Eagles beat North Oconee in the first round Oct. 20, Perry in the second round Oct. 23, Islands in the quarterfinals Oct. 27 and Fayette County in the semifinals Oct. 30.

Seniors Meg Fletcher and Hadlee Ackerman and juniors Maria Kennedy and Faith Henley were the key players in Marist’s drive to the AAAA state title.

St. Pius X (52-1) defeated Greenbrier 3-0 to claim the AAAAA title – the third state volleyball crown in school history. The Golden Lions won 25-18, 25-12 and 25-16 to complete the three-set sweep.

St. Pius won the first three rounds 3-0, defeating Woodland of Cartersville in the first round Oct. 19, Jonesboro in the second round Oct. 23 and McIntosh in the quarterfinals Oct. 26 before beating Blessed Trinity 3-1 in the semifinals Oct. 30.

Seniors Lura Underwood, Kate Larocco, Annemarie Rakoski and Emma Farrell and junior Nina Shaw led St. Pius’ charge to the AAAAA championship.


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