2019 Volleyball State Championship Preview

This year’s finals are packed with state championship power. 10 of the 14 finalists have won state titles in their program’s history, amounting to a grand total of 41 all-time state titles and five of the championship matches feature teams that will be playing to defend their crowns. No volleyball program in the history of the state has more hardware than the 13-time state champion Walton Lady Raiders, who are back in the finals as four-time defending champions. Walton’s opponent is rival Lassiter, which has played the Raiders closely in both regular season defeats this season. Lassiter also is coming off a massive sweep at Etowah in the semifinals.

Class AAAAAA will also see two region rivals squaring off with Allatoona and Sequoyah. Allatoona reached the finals this past year, but fell short to Pope 3-1, missing out on a chance to win its first-ever championship. The Bucs punched their ticket to this year’s championship by toppling No. 1 ranked Alpharetta in straight sets. Sequoyah previously won a state title in 2014 and is back in the finals after taking down defending champion Pope 3-0 in the semis.  Sequoyah has won all three meetings against Allatoona this year, but the matches have been competitively tight with Sequoyah winning 7-of-9 total sets played by a combined 211-to-175 points.


In Class AAAAA, Area 3 rivals McIntosh and Whitewater will be squaring off. McIntosh is the two-time defending state champions and have won four all-time state titles. The Chiefs have won 33-straight matches heading into Saturday, including a 2-0 victory over Whitewater in the regular season’s only meeting. Whitewater has won two state titles in its program’s history (2009, 2012) and had to battle past Starr’s Mill on the road in a five-set marathon match to return to the championship stage. As noted in the classification preview, Whitewater sophomore Ashli-Amari Cox posted a career-high 12 total blocks in the semifinal victory. Whitewater’s defense at the net will be put to the test by a highly-effective McIntosh attack.

Class AAAA featured defending state champion St. Pius against six-time state champion Blessed Trinity. St. Pius has been outstanding throughout the 2019 season, compiling a 45-4 record along its return to the finals. The Golden Lions faced Blessed Trinity back on Aug. 17 and scored a 2-1 victory (25-17, 17-25, 15-3). In the victory, sophomore Lura Underwood (11) and senior Maggie McCurdy (10) combined for 21 of the team’s 32 kills. Blessed Trinity enters the finals with a 37-9 overall record and a 14-match winning streak that does not feature a single dropped set. The Titans are led at the net by Alyssa Parodi, Cate Wright and McKenna Nelson with Kaya Hood providing a strong defensive presence.


In Class AAA, Area 4’s top two seeds, Westminster and Pace Academy will meet for the third time this season. Westminster rallied after dropping the first set to defeat the Knights 2-1 in the first meeting (28-30, 25-21, 15-7) and scored a 3-0 victory (25-17, 25-15, 26-24) in the Area 4 Finals match on Oct. 10. In the 3-0 victory, Westminster’s Chloe Emch notched 33 assists and junior Mary Emily Morgan (17) and sophomore Ashley Vincent (16) combined for 33 of the team’s 47 kills. Pace Academy, however, enters the championship as Class AAA’s two-time defending champions and the Knights proved to be in peak form in their 3-0 (25-12, 25-10, 25-6) semifinal win over Greater Atlanta Christian on Tuesday. As for the Wildcats, they cruised to a 3-0 win (25-16, 25-15, 25-7) over Jackson County in their semifinal triumph.

The Class AA/A-Public championship match features two-time defending champion Coosa and Elite Scholars Academy, which sits one win away from achieving a historic first-ever state title. Coosa features senior Kasey Thacker, who was named the classification’s Player of the Year in 2018. Thacker tallied a match-best 17 kills off of 30 attempts in Coosa’s (25-19, 25-13, 25-12) sweep over Rabun County in the semifinals. Elite Scholars Academy has won its last 18 matches heading into Saturday and enters the match battle-tested after compiling a 37-10 record against a schedule packed with powerhouses. Royal Knights also feature a dynamic duo of Ranyla Griggs and Tobie Kassim, who are the team’s leaders in kills.

Class AA/A-Private has experienced a thrilling first four rounds of playoff action and it will be 2014 state champion Hebron Christian squaring off with Walker for this year’s crown. Hebron Christian recently scored a 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-17) sweep against Mt. Paran in the semifinals to improve to 44-7 overall. The Lions’ roster possesses a lot of size that makes them a potential mismatch for opponents. 6-foot senior outside hitter Hayden McGee is the team’s leader in kills. Also, 5-foot-11 senior Katie Marrero and 6-foot-2 senior Carly Heidger are premier middle hitters. Walker won a five-set thriller (15-25, 25-16, 25-10, 26-28, 15-11) over Holy Innocents’ in the semifinals to reach the championship and improve its overall record to a stellar 46-5. Walker a group of outside hitters that is led by Kaitlyn Rodriguez and senior Callaway Cason is a dependable setter to keep the Wolverines in attack mode. In Walker’s 3-0 win over Savannah Christian, Cason notched 40 assist and Rodriguez smashed 19 of the team’s 47 total kills.

Volleyball State Championship Schedule

At Marietta
11:00 am – Class 4A (St. Pius vs. Blessed Trinity – H)
1:30 pm – Class 5A (Whitewater vs. McIntosh – H)
4:00 pm – Class 6A (Allatoona vs. Sequoyah – H)
6:30 pm – Class 7A (Lassiter vs. Walton – H)

At McEachern
11:00 am – 1A/2A Private (Walker vs. Hebron Christian – H)
1:30 pm – 1A/2A Public (Coosa vs. Elite Scholars – H)
4:00 pm – Class 3A (Pace Academy vs. Westminster – H)


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