KENNESAW — Kennesaw Mountain beat Hillgrove in four sets Thursday night to win the Region 3AAAAAAA championship.
The teams entered the tournament as the top two seeds.
“It’s amazing,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Michael Loyd said. “It’s something the girls have been working for every day in the gym since August. It’s been a goal of ours.”
Hillgrove (16-19) jumped out to an early 7-4 lead in the first set, then went up 13-5 before Kennesaw Mountain’s Milana Thornton broke the run with two straight kills.
The Lady Mustangs (28-13) went on a 5-0 run to make the score closer, but Hillgrove held on to win the first set 25-20.
Kennesaw Mountain got an early five-point lead in the second and the teams went back-and-forth, but Hillgrove could not gain any ground before the Lady Mustangs pulled away to win 25-14 to tie the match.
The Lady Mustangs got their first lead of the third set at 5-4. Hillgrove got as close as one, but Kennesaw Mountain proved to be too much, winning the set 25-17.
The fourth set started similarly, with both teams trading points and the score remaining close, but the Lady Mustangs again went on a big run to pull away, winning the set 25-8 and clinching the match.
“We did start a little slow,” Loyd said. “That’s something I’ve seen the past few games, but the next three, we stepped on the gas and it got better every set.”
In the third-place match, fourth-seeded North Cobb swept third-seeded Marietta.
With the region title, Kennesaw Mountain is in position to host at least the first two rounds of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs. In the meantime, it will focus on improving before their first-round match against Colquitt County on Oct. 19.
“We’re just focusing on what we do on our side of the net,” Loyd said. “Hopefully, we make a deep run in the state tournament.”
Hillgrove will host Lowndes in the first round. North Cobb will make the trip to Tift County, with Marietta traveling to Camden County.