KENNESAW -- After surviving back-to-back three-setters to advance to the finals of the county tournament, on top of three matches in pool play, Walker showed no signs of fatigue Saturday.
The Lady Wolverines, in fact, may have saved their best for last against Area 6A/AA rival and defending county champion Mount Paran Christian.
After taking charge of the first set, Walker got out slowly in the second but got a second wind and beat Mount Paran in straight sets, winning 25-17, 25-23 to claim the championship.
“I think it was more of an energy-rush. We’ve been here for so long, we might as well just push through now,” said setter Callaway Cason, who finished with 13 assists, five kills and one solo block that ended up being the turning point for Walker late push in the second set.
Cason’s block gave Walker a 23-22 second set lead and two points from the match. Then, Mount Paran was called for touching the net to give the Lady Wolverines (38-5) match point. They converted on their second try, with Kaitlyn Rodriguez’s sixth kill.
Walker needed three sets to beat Kennesaw Mountain in the opening round of bracket play, prevailing 15-11 in the third. Then, it came from a set down against Harrison in the semifinals, winning 15-13 in the deciding set to advance.
“Kennesaw Mountain, Harrison and Mount Paran are all excellent teams,” Walker coach Ryan Stadler said, “and for us to accomplish that is nothing short of extraordinary.”
The momentum of beating Harrison appeared to have carried over into the first set of the championship match against Mount Paran (26-12), which Walker won handily, but it found itself trailing for most of the second set and once faced a 19-15 deficit.
Afterwards, the Lady Wolverines played like they weren’t in the mood for another three-setter. Walker got three quick points on Mandy Duckworth’s serve, tying the set at 19-all with a clean ace.
But Mount Paran continued to hang on to the lead for as long as possible.
A Walker passing error and a combined block from Angel Ferary and Hannah Pulley put the Lady Eagles ahead 21-19. Walker tied it up again on a Mount Paran passing error and a kill from Hannah Charles. Then, Mount Paran took one last lead at 22-21 on a Catherine Ethridge kill.
The Lady Eagles advanced to their second straight championship with a three-set victory over Lassiter before beating Pope in straight sets in the semifinals.
“Overall (Saturday), we played amazing,” Mount Paran coach Selina Chancy said. “We played amazing against Lassiter and Pope. It’s hard to lose to Walker, but I think to take away from that, we know what we need to work on. They executed their strengths better than we executed ours. Their primary hitters and their setter did their thing.”
Ferary led Mount Paran with six kills. Her sister, Bella, had four kills to go with six assists. Hannah Pulley had 2½ blocks, and Paige Armstrong dished out 10 assists.
For Walker, Lauren Haynes had four kills, an ace and a block.