South Forsyth, Lambert and Pinecrest Academy punched their tickets to the state volleyball playoffs.
No. 6-ranked South claimed a No. 2 seed with a (25-16, 25-19) win over No. 8 Lambert, which earned a No. 3 seed with a (25-22, 13-25, 25-21) victory over Chattahoochee in the Area 5-AAAAAA tournament on Saturday at Chattahoochee.
In Class A, Pinecrest advanced to the state tournament as the No. 3 seed from Area 5.
"I’m proud of my girls," South head coach Kelly Wren said. "We have a young team and are still in the building process and this is more than I could have ever hoped for coming into this season.
"As long as I’ve been here, we’ve never played this well," said Wren, who is in her fifth season at South. "We need to work on our defense against bigger hitters and limit our errors, but I’m proud of what we accomplished."
The Lady War Eagles jumped out to a 12-3 start over Lambert and never looked back in the first game. South got out to another hot start in the second game, going up 8-1.
South’s Taylor Svehla led the team with eight kills, while Kelli McCravy racked up 23 assists.
Following the victory, South (32-18 overall) fell to Johns Creek (25-14, 25-16, 19-25, 25-13) in the best of five championship matchup.
After the score was tied 9-9 in the first game against the Gladiators, the Lady War Eagles only managed five points, as they were outscored 16-5 and lost the first game. The Gladiators started right where they left off to make the score 7-2 before going on to win the second game.
With the Lady War Eagles leading 14-13 in Game 3, they racked up eight consecutive points to stave off elimination before Johns Creek took control of Game 4, leading 13-4 to start the game before winning and taking the Area 5-AAAAAA championship.
Earlier in the day, Lambert (29-14 overall) earned its first postseason berth in program history by knocking off West Forsyth (25-11, 25-17) and clinched the No. 3 seed with a victory over Chattahoochee (25-22, 13-25, 25-21).
Autum Harrington paced the Lady Longhorns with 11 kills and three blocks against West. Lambert followed the game with its first-ever win against Chattahoochee, as Kara Templeton led the team with 26 assists and Caroline Lamb tallied nine kills, eight digs and two aces.
"Our main job was to contain their setter — she’s their offense, their defense and everything — and we came through," Lambert first-year head coach Missy Hall said. "It was a total team effort. I’m just blown away. Our first time to beat [Chattahoochee], just a great effort."
In the first game of the day, West topped North Forsyth (25-22, 25-16) to earn a meeting with Lambert.
The Lady Wolverines jumped out to an 8-3 lead before North rallied to go ahead 17-16 after winning six points in a row, but West responded with a five-point run of its own to take the lead and win the first game. The Lady Raiders took an early 3-0 lead, but didn’t hold it for long as West scored 10 of the next 13 points.
West finished the season 17-24 overall.
"We struggled all year and I really thought had we not lost our senior middle with the injury, we would have been a lot more competitive, but it is what it is," West head coach Jim Orr said.
"It’s going to be a rebuilding year for us next year, but I want to thank the girls for their effort this year. They played hard; we just didn’t have everything falling for us at the right time."
North completed its season with a 12-15 record.
"We made a lot of progress this year and we were pretty young and we’ve got a long way to go and we get better every single year," North head coach Kathy Houston said. "I’m really proud of them. We work hard and didn’t give up, but sometimes that’s not good enough. But they never quit and I love that."
In Class 5A, Forsyth Central was eliminated from the Regino 7-AAAAA tournament following losses to Creekview and Riverwood.
South will host Habersham Central, while Lambert travels to Mill Creek and Pinecrest heads to George Walton Academy on Thursday.