MARIETTA — Top-seeded host Walton advanced to the finals of the Region 3AAAAAAA tournament with a three-set sweep of No. 4 seed Harrison in a semifinal match Wednesday.
After taking a convincing 25-14 victory in the opening set, the Lady Raiders had a tougher time of it in the next two sets, winning 25-22 in the second set and 25-20 in the third.
Walton (21-6), the No. 1 team in Class AAAAAAA, advanced to play No. 2 seed North Cobb — a three-set winner over third-seeded Hillgrove in the other semifinal — in the finals Thursday.
Harrison (14-18) was set take on Hillgrove in the third-place match.
Mary Neal had 17 kills, while Aviah Miller added 12 kills to lead the way for Walton.
Walton led the first set from start to finish, with Greta Hans serving three aces, Miller contributing three kills and two aces and Neal three kills.
The second set was a different story as both teams traded the lead several times through most of the way.
Harrison broke an 8-all tie with a winner by Ellise Hanson and a kill by Chloe Brown to take a 10-8 lead. That turned out to be the biggest advantage the Lady Hoyas would have in the entire match.
It also turned out to be the last lead Harrison would hold as Walton scored the next five unanswered points — three on kills by Neal — to take the lead for good.
Elizabeth Curry had three kills late in the second set to help Walton win and jump out to a 2-0 lead.
The beginning of the third set saw Walton quickly jump out to a 7-3 lead, with kills by Neal providing a boost.
Trailing 11-6, Harrison bounced back with five unanswered points. Audrey Brooks scored on a kill, Hanson got a kill and a block and after a Walton unforced error and Victoria Iorillo had a kill to even the score at 11-all.
The Lady Hoyas tied the game again at 12-all, but Neal’s kill put Walton back ahead 13-12, and the Lady Raiders stayed ahead the rest of the way as they went on to win the set and the match.