Trinity win away from third GISA volleyball title
The rest of the Georgia Independent Schools Association threw everything they had at Trinity Christian to try and prevent the Lady Lions from reaching a third consecutive Class AAA volleyball championship match.
But so far, the undefeated and No. 1-state ranked Lady Lions have withstood everything put in their path on either side of the court.
Trinity held off tough challenges from both Holy Spirit and crosstown rival The Heritage School during the first day of this year's Class AAA tournament to advance to today's finals following a pair of three-game sweeps.
Trinity defeated Holy Spirit 25-20, 25-15 and 25-16 and held off The Heritage School 25-14, 25-19, 25-19.
The Lady Lions (26-0) will play second-ranked and tournament host Augusta Prep today at 2:30 p.m., for this year's championship. The Lady Cavaliers, who ended their season in last year's Class AAA semifinals, were able to advance past Young Americans in a three-game sweep.
The two schools faced each other twice before Sept. 14, with Trinity winning both matches 2-0. But Augusta recently welcomed the return of one of its injured seniors late in the season, which helped provide a boost in tournament victories over Mount de Sales and Young Americans.
'You could tell that she was a factor for them,' Trinity head coach Joe Camp said. 'Both of the teams we played came after us aggressively with their serves.'
In its semifinal victory over an everimproving Lady Hawks program that reached the GISA Final Four in just its second varsity season, Trinity withstood the loss of senior middle hitter Natalie Sisler to an ankle injury early in the first game when she accidentally stepped on a teammate during a point.
'That put us in a situation where we had to move people around,' said Camp, who was able to move Francie Hutcheson to the right side and Ashley Caldwell to middle hitter. 'We're concerned about it. But we're hoping she'll be able to play.'
The Heritage School ended a successful season at 12-7 overall after knocking off Loganville Christian, the No. 2 seed out of Region 1-AAA, to open the first round on Friday. Young Americans, which finished just ahead of Heritage in the regular season, defeated Weber to give 2-AAA three of the four state semifinalists.
NORTHGATE FACES AREA RIVAL IN ELITE 8 TODAY: If Northgate's Class AAAAA state quarterfinalists want to advance to the GHSA Final Four for the second time in five seasons, the Lady Vikings will have to get past a familiar foe today on the road.
Fifth-seeded Northgate will open the Elite 8 tournament at Area 4-AAAAA rival Whitewater, which earned the No. 4 seed after the final eight schools were reseeded following second-round matches.
Northgate advanced to the quarterfinals with a dominating 3-0 sweep at Houston County, with Lady Bears coach Maria Huelsman admitting that her team got 'manhandled,' in the loss.
Randee Harvel had 10 kills and Taylor Bigler added 16 assists to help lead the Lady Vikings into the Elite 8 for the second consecutive season. Savannah Moore also had a pair of blocks and a kill that clinched the victory.
Today's 3 p.m. match will be the fourth meeting of the season between the Lady Vikings and Lady Wildcats, with Whitewater winning the most recent pair over a two-day span in the area tournament.
After sweeping Whitewater on Aug. 27, Northgate fell in three games 21-25, 25-18, 21-25 in its first-round tournament match. The team battled back for a pair of sweeps to reach the area semifinals before having to settle for the No. 4 seed in the state playoffs with a 18-25, 19-25 loss to the Lady Wildcats.