Prep Volleyball continues bump in CowetaBy DOUG GORMAN
It’s safe to say high school volleyball is alive and well in Coweta County.
With Trinity Christian School winning another GISA state title, a dynasty may have been born on Saturday.
However, Northgate, Newnan and East Coweta have also raised the bar with their performances this past season. All three public schools advanced to the GHSA state playoffs in their respective classifications.
For Northgate, the season ended with a 30-21 record and a trip to the Class AAAAA Elite 8. The Lady Vikings hopes of advancing to this year’s final four, ended with a 3-1 loss to Starr’s Mill Saturday night, a team Northgate swept twice during the regular season.
Five seniors helped set the tone for one of Northgate’s most successful runs in school history, helping lead the Lady Vikings to three trips to the Elite 8 and one final four during their careers. Elle McCord has committed to play volleyball at Georgia, and Brittany Scarbrough helped lead the way with her ability to assist on points. Kaylee Mappin and Taylor Kidner and Jessica Johnson also ended their high school careers.
“These seniors have meant so much to the program,” Northgate head coach Matt Trucks said. “They helped get us to the level where we are at now.”
Randee Harvel and Michaella Crooks will step up next year as the only two seniors on the team. The rest will be rising juniors and sophomores, but Trucks doesn’t expect his team to miss a beat.
East Coweta flexed its volleyball muscles this year, winning the Coweta County Championships. It was the first time in eight years Northgate hadn’t won the title.
The Lady Indians finished the year with a 25-15 record and a region title. The future looks bright despite falling to Roswell in the first round of the Class AAAAAA tournament. With three seniors — Lexy Zelckak, Erin Gould and Makayla Aitken — graduating, several returning players with experience will be back next season.
Rising junior Jessi Bartholomew and rising seniors Savannah Freeman and Sydney Mauer will be among the player will solid experience for the Lady Indians.
“We just have to keep playing a tough schedule so we can be ready for the state playoffs,” said East Coweta head coach Dena Taylor.
Newnan might have had the best turnaround of any team in Georgia this year.
After winning just three times last year, the Lady Cougars compiled a 23-17 record and swept McEachern 3-0 in the first round of the state tournament before getting swept by Roswell.
Head coach Leslie Fant points to a new attitude among this year’s team for the successful campaign.
Led by seniors Mimi Yancey and Ayla Brewer, the team won 10-straight matches at one point of the season. During that stretch it lost just one game.
“You could see a whole different attitude this year,” Fant said. “Everybody wanted to be here. They were ready to practice.”
All three coaches point to the commitment players in the area are making toward the sport with most now participating in volleyball at the club level.
“They are doing a great job,” Trucks said. “The county tournament is going to be wide open for the next few years.”