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Chestatee volleyball nabs a home playoff game
Lakeview, Gainesville clinch playoff berths
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Chestatee High’s volleyball program continues to break new ground.

One year after qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in school history, the War Eagles picked up two wins at the Area 8-AAAA tournament on Saturday in Monroe and earned the right to host a state playoff game for the first time.

Lakeview Academy and Gainesville High also qualified for the postseason on Saturday, as the Lions and Red Elephants both clinched the No. 3 seed at their respective area tournaments.

Chestatee defeated Lanier twice — 25-13, 25-20 and 28-26, 25-18 — to secure the No. 2 seed from Area 8. The War Eagles couldn’t get over the hump in a pair of meetings with Walnut Grove, which handed them a 17-25, 25-18, 22-25 loss in the first matchup and a 23-25, 26-28, 25-16, 18-25 loss in the championship round.

“I was extremely proud of them,” Chestatee coach Julie Rushing said of her players.

“They’ve worked extremely hard this year. Last year we went in as a 3 seed and this year we’re going in as a 2 seed. Each year they just keep building on what they’ve accomplished.”

Melanie Smith led the War Eagles with 47 kills, five aces and four 1/2 blocks. Tyler Bennett added 44 assists and 15 kills, Grace Brown contributed 28 kills, and Breezy Walker chipped in 42 assists and 11 kills.

Chestatee will open the Class AAAA playoffs at home Wednesday against the No. 3 seed from Area 4-AAAA.

Lakeview secured its berth in the Class A state playoffs by defeating Prince Avenue (25-10, 28-18) and George Walton (25-20, 25-15) at the Area 6-A tournament on Saturday in Lilburn. The Lady Lions fell to Athens Academy 22-25, 26-24, 25-18 in the semifinal match.

Senior Shelby Ross led the Lady Lions with 30 kills, 13 digs, three aces and three blocks, while Katie White added 16 kills, 32 digs and four aces. Peaches Shipley had nine kills, six aces and a block. Delaney Jarrett had six kills, 24 assists, two aces and Bailey Towles had 28 assists and four aces.

Four Lakeview players received All-Area accolades. Ross was named to the All-Area First Team, White and Samantha Versteeg were named to the Second Team, and Towles was awarded Honorable Mention.

The Lady Lions will open the state playoffs on the road on Thursday.

Gainesville earned the No. 3 seed heading into the Class AAAAA state tournament by virtue of a 16-25, 25-19, 25-11 win over Clarke Central at the Area 8-AAAAA tournament on Saturday in Gainesville.

Sydney King recorded six service points and 15 digs in that contest. Bethany Whitenton added service points and seven kills, Alyssa Turner had 18 service points, two aces and seven kills, and Tanai Watson chipped in 10 service points and 15 assists.

Gainesville later suffered a narrow 23-25, 24-26 loss to Apalachee, which went on to claim the area championship.

Clarke Central finished as the No. 2 seed by defeating Gainesville 14-25, 21-25 in their rematch later in the day, while Loganville clinched the No. 4 seed.

Gainesville will open the state playoffs on the road Thursday against the No. 2 seed from Area 4.

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