Last season saw one area team claim a state title (defended it, in fact), while several others made impressive runs in the state volleyball playoffs.
Starting Wednesday, plenty more area programs enter the postseason with dreams of snaring the biggest prize of all, as the first round of the GHSA bracket gets under way.
Buford, Gainesville, Jackson County, North Hall and Rabun County each claimed area championships last week and certainly enter the playoffs with high hopes. The Lady Wolves are gunning for their second straght Class AAAAA title and third successive state crown, while the Lady Trojans have been ranked No. 1 in Class AAA for much of the campaign.
The Lady Red Elephants, Lady Panthers and Lady Wildcats are also amongst their respective classifications' top 10 -- as are fellow postseason teams Jefferson (Class AAAA), East Hall (Class AAA) and Lakeview Academy (Class A), and northeast Georgia teams have begun to make their presence felt in the postseason.
North Hall reached the Class AAA semifinals last season and have come back with a vengeance, focused squarely on the program's first state crown. Meanwhile, Gainesville, featuring players like Savannah Roys (Area 8-AAAAAA MVP, 2,300-plus career assists, 600 kills, 125 blocks, 370 aces, and 1,100 digs) will look to break through to the championship tournament -- beginning with all quarterfinalists on Oct. 21.
The coming weeks should prove exciting and maybe even historic for area squads.
AREA TEAMS IN STATE VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS
(Area teams listed first, alphabetical order)
Gainesville (Area 8, No. 1 seed) vs. River Ridge (A6, 4)
Habersham Central (A8, 3) at Allatoona (A6, 2)
Buford (A8, 1) vs. Maynard Jackson (A6, 5)
Flowery Branch (A8, 3) at Decatur (A6, 2)
Johnson (A8, 4) at Starr’s Mill (A3, 2)
Chestatee (A7, 4) at Cartersville (A5, 1)
Jefferson (A8, 3) at Heritage, Catoosa (A6, 2)
West Hall (A7, 3) at Chapel Hill (A5, 2)
Dawson County (A7, 4) at Westminster (A5, 1)
East Hall (A7, 3) at Redan (A5, 2)
East Jackson (A8, 2) vs. Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe (A6, 3)
Jackson County (A8, 1) vs. Murray County (A6, 4)
North Hall (A7, 1) vs. Towers (A5, 4)
Rabun County (A4, 1) vs. Pepperell (A3, 4)
Lakeview Academy (A8, 3) at St. Francis (A6, 2)
Tallulah Falls (A8, 4) at Walker (A6, 1)