1019EdwardsAUDCreekview volleyball coach John Edwards talks about winning the Area 7-AAA title.
1019MavisAUDFlowery Branch coach Bryan Mavis talks about its performance in the Area 7-AAA volleyball finals.
CANTON—Saturday’s Area 7-AAA title battle between Creekview and Flowery Branch was a fast-paced match between two evenly talented teams at Creekview High. Hard hit shots were traded back-and-forth as these two programs tried to earn the first 7-AAA title in school history.
So it was only appropriate that one of the softest hit shots made the difference for the No. 7-ranked Grizzlies (29-13) en route to a 25-14, 25-21, 29-27 win to clinch the Area 7-AAA title and No. 1 seed for the upcoming Class AAA state playoffs. The third game featured four lead changes and a late surge by the Lady Falcons, after trailing by as much as 18-11.
"Both teams were wearing each other out and then we won it there on that off speed hit," Creekview coach John Edwards said. "It was weird to end it on a play like that, but it was something that she did on purpose."
"We came out with a plan in that third game and executed it almost to perfection," Flowery Branch coach Bryan Mavis said. "We just came up short in a couple of areas, little tentative spots here and there, that if they’d gone another way we’d have been playing a fourth game."
Creekview cruised to the 7-AAA title with wins against North Hall and twice against Flowery Branch over the course of the tournament. The Grizzlies open the state tournament against the No. 4 seed from Area 8-AAA next Thursday at either Oconee County or Morgan County.
Flowery Branch advanced to the final match with a 25-17, 29-27 win against North Hall earlier in the day. The Lady Falcons enter the state tournament as the No. 2 seed, and await the No. 3 seed out of 8-AAA. It is the second consecutive season that Flowery Branch has finished as Area 7-AAA runner-up.
"The girls felt like they could win this match, and I felt like we could win this match," Mavis said. "So that’s always a disappointment.
"It’s a little easier to take when the other team plays as well as they played. It wasn’t like we made a lot of errors that beat us, it was great play that beat us."
Katie Battani, the Area 7-AAA Player of the Year, finished the match with 22 assists, three digs and four blocked shots for Creekview. Tournament MVP Cayla Degen had 17 digs and three kills for the Grizzlies. Blake Fountain added eight kills and five digs for Creekview, and Hillary Turner added nine kills and five digs.
The Grizzlies challenged Flowery Branch early with consistent play over the first two games. Creekview never trailed in the opening game, and didn’t trail the second game until Flowery Branch took a short-lived lead late.
Jennica Ramey led ninth-ranked Flowery Branch (32-10) with 28 assists and three kills. Maleigha King had seven kills, two blocks and an assist for the Lady Falcons, and Danielle Miller added seven kills. Flowery Branch took the lead on two separate occasions late in the final game.
"Our team has been really focused the last two weeks," Edwards said. "Earlier in the season falling behind like that would have done us in."
It was certainly a week to remember for Creekview with its first two region titles in school history. The softball team clinched the 7-AAA title just days before the volleyball program. This is the third year that Creekview has been open.
"We’ve been sort of looking at it all year like, ‘who’s going to win first,’" Edwards added. "It’s been a friendly competition between the softball and volleyball program."
Against North Hall, Ramey had 14 assists, one kill and an ace for the Lady Falcons. Miller added four kills and five aces for Flowery Branch, and Lindsay Porter had seven kills and an assist.
Evann Rowland had six kills and 11 digs for the Lady Trojans. Katherine Filchak had five blocks, four kills, and a four point service run for North Hall, and Kathryn Bell had 13 assists and three kills. With the loss, North Hall is now the No. 3 seed to state and will play the No. 2 seed out of Area 8-AAA.
West Forsyth is the No. 4 seed from 7-AAA and plays the Area 8-AAA champion in the state tournament.