Walton sweeps competition at All City Playdate

Photo by Trey Schwartz

The second annual All City Classic took place Saturday at South Forsyth and Lambert as 14 of the states best programs squared off for a total of 30 games. Unlike a tournament bracket, these matchups were all handpicked to provide the games everyone wanted to see. Out of the 14 participating schools, only Walton, North Cobb and East Coweta escaped without dropping a single set and the Raiders finished 4-0 with without dropping a set to Sequoyah, Chattahoochee, Johns Creek and Harrison.

The day opened with North Cobb and Sequoyah at 8 am. Sequoyah entered the tournament with a 26-2 record and a perfect resume against instate opponents. The Chiefs have been on Cherokee County’s fall break for a week and perhaps came out flat to start the marathon of games. North Cobb served up a (25-20, 25-22) sweep and the Chiefs’ day would not get easier with Walton next on the slate.

The Raiders took the first set 25-13 over Sequoyah, before roaring back from a 8-3 deficit in the second set to take it 25-19.

“Instead of panicking when someone makes a mistake, this team believes in each other, explained Walton head coach Susanne Fitzgerald. “When you know your teammates have your back each player is going to perform better.”

The Raiders’ second game resulted in a 25-14, 25-15 sweep over Chattahoochee and like each of Walton’s four victories on Saturday, the Raiders strung together a huge run in the second set. After leading just 13-11, the Raiders finished the second frame outscoring the Cougars 12-4 to the 25-15 match point.

Meanwhile, host Forsyth and East Coweta were playing on the adjacent court and East Coweta pulled off a 25-17, 25-22 sweep. Duke-commit Jessica Bartholomew had a pair of spiked in the final four points to close the second set for the Indians.

Johns Creek sent Walton a wakeup call last season with a 3-1 victory that ultimately served as motivation during the Raiders’ journey to win their fourth straight state title. After last year’s loss to the Gladiators, Walton came out focused on Saturday and took a 16-5 lead in the opening set before sweeping the Gladiators to the tune of 25-11, 25-16.

Walton’s fourth and final match was the most anticipated pairing with the top-ranked Raiders and the No. 2 Harrison Hoyas. These two Class AAAAAA rivals met in the state title in 2011 and 2012 and Walton got the best of the Hoyas both times. Last year, the Raiders swept Harrison in the regular season and this year they handed the Hoyas their first loss of the season on Sept 30.

Walton led 20-17 in the first set, but back-to-back Walton serving errors and UGA-commit Caroline Ostman’s two kills got Harrison back in it and the Hoyas eventually set up match point with a 24-23 lead. Walton survived the match point and senior Ashley Dean served up an ace that would give Walton a 26-24 win in the first set. The second set was a much different scenario and instead of going right at the taller Harrison hitters, Walton altered its defensive strategy and the score and the court opened up.

“We changed where we were attacking from and we changed our defense,” explained Fitzgerald. “When we started defending better we weren’t getting frustrated and our performance could improve offensively. When you remove poor defense your hitters start playing better because they know they are getting the ball.”

The Raiders opened on a 14-3 run and seniors Ashley Miller and Ashley Dean combined and junior Tai Beierria were too much for the Hoyas to handle in a 25-9 Walton win.

“We knew the last time we played Harrison we faded out in the second set,” said Fitzgerald. “Today’s performance, on top of what the team did last week in Louisville, showed me how big this team’s heart is.”

Miller had 11 kills and three blocks against Harrison and Baierria had seven kills on just 14 attempts.


All City Playdate results

Centennial 2, Roswell 1

East Coweta 2, Chattahoochee 0

East Coweta 2, Roswell 0

East Coweta 2, South Forsyth 0

Harrison 2, Johns Creek 0

Johns Creek 2, Landmark Christian 1

Johns Creek 2, Lassiter 1

Lambert 2, Roswell 0

Landmark Christian 2, Centennial 1

Landmark Christian 2, Chattahoochee 0

Landmark Christian 2, Roswell 0

Lassiter 2, Northview 0

North Cobb 2, Sequoyah 0

North Cobb 2, South Forsyth 0

Northview 2, Landmark Christian 1

Northview 2, Roswell 0

Sequoyah 2, Chattahoochee 0

Sequoyah 2, Harrison 1

Sequoyah 2, Northview 0

South Forsyth 2, Lassiter 0

Walton 2, Chattahoochee 0

Walton 2, Harrison 0

Walton 2, Johns Creek 0

Walton 2, Sequoyah 0




Tags: , ,

One Response to “Walton sweeps competition at All City Playdate”

  1. Todd Mannebach
    September 22, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    Once again you’ve got it wrong? In addition to Walton both North Cobb and EC came out of the play date unscathed winning all four of their matches. Is it that hard for you to pay attention?

Leave a Reply