Volleyball: Top 10 showdowns highlight first round action

Photo by Trey Schwartz

Class AAAAAA’s 32 playoff teams will square off Thursday and the winners will get four days of rest before the second round resumes on Tuesday. After the second round, the final eight teams will be re-seeded and placed into a championship bracket. Top-ranked Walton hosts Chattahoochee in a rematch of last year’s Class AAAAAA state championship. The four-time defending state champion Raiders are the No. 1 seed after taking the Area 5 crown, and Chattahoochee is the fifth seed out of Area 6. West Forsyth at Roswell, Lassiter at South Forsyth and Etowah at John’s Creek are the three top 10 showdowns in Class AAAAAA that we’ll see in the opening round.

Sequoyah failed to take a No. 1 seed into the playoffs and will host Miller Grove as a No. 2 seed to open the first round. The Chiefs fell 3-1 in the Class AAAAA championship to McIntosh last season and this rematch could manifest itself early this postseason. McIntosh took the Area 4 championship and will host Alexander in the first round. The winner of McIntosh vs. Alexander will take on the winner of Miller Grove and Sequoyah.

In Class AAAA, Buford cruised through the regular season and earned the top seed out of Area 8. The Wolves lost 3-1 to eventual Class AAA state champion St. Pius X last year and will host West Laurens in the first round on their road to the program’s first state title. The Golden Lions host Northwest Whitfield in a No. 4 vs. No. 10 ranked showdown.

Decatur’s place in the top-heavy Area 2 could cost them in the Class AAA playoffs. Westminster took the top seed and Blessed Trinity took the No. 2 seed as a result of the Wildcats’ triumph over Blessed Trinity in the Area 2 championship. Decatur earned the No. 3 seed and will visit No. 2 seeded Morgan County in the opening round. Decatur has been one of the biggest turnaround programs this year and compiled a 29-11 record after failing to make the playoffs last year. Meanwhile, Blessed Trinity sits in familiar territory as a No. 2 seed. The Titans entered last year’s playoffs as the No. 2 seed after St. Pius X edged Blessed Trinity in last year’s Area championship.

The Golden Lions would meet Blessed Trinity again in the state championship and serve up a 3-1 defeat to the Titans. St. Pius X is in AAAA now and it will be Area-rival Westminster that could end up in a winner-take-all rematch with the Titans.

Class A shapes up to be one of the most competitive slates out of the six classifications. Hebron Christian, Fellowship Christian, Savannah Christian, Walker, Brookstone, Aquinas and ELCA are the six schools wearing the No. 1 seeds in the 24-team pool and once the first round narrows the field to 12 teams we are set to see a second round packed with top 10 matchups.

Reclassification thinned out Class AA and the playoffs open with a seeded 16-team bracket on Oct. 21. Lovett, Brooks County, Coosa, Gordon Lee, Holy Innocents’ and St. Vincent’s Academy were the six Area Champions. Area Runners-up Pace Academy, Model, Chattahoochee County, Wesleyan, Darlington and Harlem earned playoff berths. Hapeville Charter, Lamar County, Greater Atlanta Christian and Chattooga are the four “At Large Teams” to qualify the for the state playoffs.


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