NORTH FULTON/FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Volleyball area tournaments commenced Thursday night with two local teams earning area championships and 13 teams securing playoff berths. The state playoffs will begin next week.
After entering the tournament as the No. 4 seed, Roswell dispatched Woodstock in the first round in four sets to earn its second straight playoff appearance. But after the Woodstock win, the Hornets had perhaps the toughest draw in the state in the second round.
Roswell faced Walton, the two-time defending state champions in the GHSA’s highest classification in the second round. Roswell was swept in three sets.
In the third place game, Roswell fell to Lassiter in four sets.
Roswell fell to Mill Creek in the first round of the state playoffs last year.
North Forsyth went 5-0 in regular season area play, but in the final match of the area tournament, the Lady Raiders fell short against Lambert.
With the area championship match tied 2-2, Lambert got off to a quick lead in the decisive fifth set and held on for a 15-9, title-clinching win.
South Forsyth downed Milton in the opening match of the tournament, a must-win to secure a playoff berth for the Lady War Eagles, the defending area champs.
In the second round, South dropped three straight sets to North, but defeated West Forsyth in four sets in the third place match.
Defending area champions Alpharetta made it two-straight titles on Thursday night after downing Johns Creek in a battle of two of the top programs in Class 6A in the area title match.
The Lady Raiders dominated North Atlanta and Centennial to open the tournament before facing Johns Creek in the third round, the first meeting of the teams in the tournament. After dropping the first set 25-22, Alpharetta won 25-16 and 25-20 to advance to the finals where they would beat Johns Creek once again.
Johns Creek opened the tournament with two wins against Chattahoochee and Pope before their first loss to Alpharetta relegated them to the loser’s bracket. After beating Pope again in two sets, the Lady Gladiators advanced to the finals and secured the No. 2 seed from the area.
After falling to Johns Creek to open the tournament, Chattahoochee won three straight matches, but fell to Pope to earn the No. 4 seed.
The Lady Cougars earned a playoff berth after failing to make the playoffs last season for the first time in four seasons.
Five teams make the playoffs from the area, and the final playoff berth was decided between Cambridge and Centennial.
After making the quarterfinals in the state playoffs the last two seasons, Cambridge fell to Centennial in two sets to be locked out of the playoffs.
Centennial’s playoff berth is its first since 2013.
Though Blessed Trinity is one of the most dominant programs in the state, having won the state championship the past three years and six in total, they often do so after failing to earn an area championship. This year was no different.
In a rematch of last year’s area championship match, Blessed Trinity and Marist met once again for the area title Thursday night, but this year the Lady Titans fell short.
Marist downed BT in four sets (23-25, 25-10, 25-14, 25-20) to earn the area crown.
Blessed Trinity will seek their fourth-straight state championship and will enter the state playoffs as the No. 2 seed from Area 7-AAAA.
No team had an answer for Area 6’s top-seeded Walker, the eventual area champions, but three local teams secured playoff berths in the area tournament.
No. 3 seeded St. Francis earned the program’s second state playoff appearance by reaching the area championship match against Walker.
The Lady Knights would fall in four sets, but earned a home playoff match for the first time in program history.
Fellowship Christian beat St. Francis in the second round of the tournament, but would drop their second match to the Lady Knights in the semifinals.
The Lady Paladins earned their fourth straight playoff appearance and will enter the state tournament as the No. 3 seed from Area 6-A.
After opening the tournament with a win over Whitefield Academy, Mount Pisgah fell to Walker in the second round. The Lady Patriots then beat Pinecrest Academy in their next match to secure the final playoff berth from the area.