Some of the first round of the Georgia High School Association’s state volleyball tournaments got under way Tuesday, including Flowery Branch’s Class 5A match at Cartersville.
However, the road to a state title begins Wednesday for four other Hall County schools.
All of those teams are optimistic about their chances, particularly Region 8-4A and Hall County champion Cherokee Bluff, which hopes to carry over momentum from last week’s region tournament title into its Class 4A first-round match against Southeast Whitfield (7-32-2) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Flowery Branch.
“I think we’re ready,” Cherokee Bluff coach Tiann Myer said. “(The players) are excited to start and ready to take it one (match) at a time. … Right now, that’s kind of where I see it. There are a few things we’d like to tweak in our lineup, but we’re ready.”
The Bears (35-12) are one of three Region 8-4A teams beginning play in the 4A playoffs today, with regular-season champion and tournament runner-up Chestatee (32-16) hosting Heritage-Catoosa (31-6) at 5:30 p.m. and North Hall (24-19) travelling to Central-Carrollton (30-11-1) at 5 p.m.
And like her own team, Myer is optimistic that all three of those region teams are in position to make some noise in the tournament.
“I would hope so,” Myer said. “I think (having three county teams in the 4A playoffs) shows that we’re all a group of talented schools. … I have to believe at least one of us is capable of doing something big.”
Myer is confident her Lady Bears can be one of those teams provided the players can keep their focus where it needs to be.
For that task, she will rely not only on her message, but also on the leadership of veteran players like her four seniors – outside hitters Emma Staples and Makayla Brix, middle hitter Grace-Blythe Cornett and libero Madelyn Levine – who were all a big part of Cherokee Bluff’s run to the Class 3A state semifinals in 2021.
“They lead the charge completely,” Myer said of the seniors. “It’s the same situation as they were in last year. We have to rely on our senior core and the juniors who also played. The ones who haven’t played will have to jump on their backs and focus.”
In addition to the three Class 4A teams and Flowery Branch, the other Hall County team getting started in playoff action Wednesday is Gainesville.
The Red Elephants (20-19) will have a big task ahead of them in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs as they travel to Cobb County powerhouse Pope (40-5) a state semfinalist form last year.
Gainesville at Pope
Cherokee Bluff vs. Southeast Whitfield
Chestatee vs. Heritage-Catoosa
North Hall at Central-Carroll