It’s a good thing the Georgia High School Association gave Area 6-AAAAAA an extra fifth state playoff berth last season.
It could probably use six.
Such is the talent that resides in the area this season, making for this cliffhanger of a prediction: one very good volleyball team is going to miss the state playoffs.
Each of the area’s 13 teams will try to avoid that ignominious fate when the area tournament begins Monday at Lambert.
Seven of the area’s 13 teams are ranked in the top 20 of Class AAAAAA by MaxPreps. Four are in the top 10.
Here’s a quick glance at how teams stack up going into the Area 6-AAAAAA tournament:
Favorites: Johns Creek, South Forsyth. There are few teams better in the entire state, regardless of classification, than these two. Take your pick. Johns Creek (35-5) is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAAA and the reigning area champion. South (33-7) is ranked No. 3. The Lady War Eagles are 1-8 in their last nine matches against Johns Creek and have lost five straight. Expect these two to meet in the area finals like they did a year ago. Who wins, though, is a toss-up.
Contenders: Alpharetta, Lambert, West Forsyth. No team enters the area tournament with more momentum than No. 10-ranked Alpharetta (30-10) which ended the regular season on a 13-match winning streak. Maybe the only team with as much momentum as Alpharetta is No. 6-ranked Lambert (30-9), which won nine straight matches to end the regular season. The Lady Longhorns have the talent behind libero Jordyn Moellering, outside hitter Ashley Cruise, middle hitter Madeleine Bertz and others to make the state playoffs for the first time since 2011. And West Forsyth (27-16) is finally healthy after weeks of tumult with injuries to its most key contributors in outside hitter Taylor Ashcraft, setter Jordan Leitch and outside hitter Chloe Lance.
Sleepers: Centennial, North Forsyth. Imagine one or both of these teams – who have a combined .632 winning percentage – missing the state playoffs. It’s a real possibility unless they can make a run through the area tournament. North (19-14) has shown glimpses of taking the next step into becoming a formidable contender, particularly with its Senior Night victory against West. Centennial had a losing record in area play but went 29-14 overall.
Others: Chattahoochee, Habersham, Northview. Habersham (9-19) and Northview (1-22) have toiled in Area 6-AAAAAA all season, going a combined 0-16. Chattahoochee (13-16) has the history of success to suggest it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Area 6-AAAAAA schedule
When: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Where: Lambert High School (Courts 1 and 2) and Old Atlanta Rec Center (Court 3).
Match 1: North Forsyth v. Habersham Central, 5 p.m. (Court 1)
Match 2: Centennial v. Northview, 5 p.m. (Court 2)
Match 3: Lambert v. West Forsyth, 6 p.m. (Court 2)
Match 4: Alpharetta v. Chattahoochee, 5 p.m. (Court 3)
Match 5: Johns Creek v. North/Habersham, 6 p.m. (Court 1)
Match 6: South Forsyth v. Centennial/Northview, 7 p.m. (Court 2)
Match 7: Loser Match 1 v. Loser Match 3, 7 p.m. (Court 3)
Match 8: Loser Match 2 v. Loser Match 4, 6 p.m. (Court 3)