For the second time in the last four years, the Gainesville High volleyball team claimed first place in the Hall County tournament Saturday at Chestatee High School.
The Lady Red Elephants beat Cherokee Bluff (25-14, 25-14) and East Hall (25-5, 25-20) in pool play to win their bracket, and then defeated North Hall (25-8, 25-22) and West Hall (26-28, 25-10, 15-9) in the championship round robin to win the event. Gainesville only dropped one set on the day, en route to a dominant first-place finish.
“Basically it all came together today,” Lady Red Elephants coach Randy Roys said. “We just had a good day from start to finish. … We just had consistent team effort across the board on offense and defense, and everybody just gelled together and had a good time. ”
Isabella Appling had 19 kills, eight aces, three assists and 25 digs for the Lady Red Elephants, while Ansley Turner contributed 35 kills, five aces, four assists and 21 digs. Camille Calkins added 13 kills, eight blocks, seven digs and a pair of aces.
All three were named to the Gold Bracket All-Tournament team.
Roys said he hopes to use the win as a springboard headed into the Region 8-6A Tournament and eventually the Class 6A state playoffs. After coming up short in the round of 16 following each of the last four regular season, Roys said he thinks this team may have what it takes to get over the hump and compete for a state championship.
“We’ve been to Sweet 16 the last four years, and we want to get past that round,” he said. “... We’ll definitely use this as momentum.”
North Hall took second at the event with a victory over West Hall (25-20, 25-23) after falling to Gainesville in the championship round robin.
West Hall’s Cadie Shirley put together 25 kills, 11 aces and 38 digs on the day, and joined Appling, Turner and Calkins on the Gold Bracket All-Tournament team.