Georgia high school postseason volleyball got under way Monday, and Sonoraville and Gordon Lee appear to be on a collision course to meet Thursday for an area championship at Darlington in Rome.
Sonoraville (31-7, 12-0) was the regular-season champion in Area 6-AA/A, and Gordon Lee (30-3, 11-1) was runner-up. The Phoenix won 2-1 in their Sept. 15 meeting at Sonoraville.
"They've got a very strong team," Gordon Lee coach Ed Clendenen said. "They're very balanced. They hit it well. They serve it well. They play great defense. The thing I like best about them is how well they move and block. If we play again we'll have to play better in the middle. I really feel we'll need to serve it better, too."
Senior Michelle Powell and junior Sara Clayton are the Lady Trojans in the middle. Senior Sara Holder and junior Taylor Hartline pace the hitting, and seniors Rachel Darr and Beth Kizziah spearhead the backline defense.
Sisters Kailey and Kristi Vaughn are co-captains for Sonoraville. Senior Kailey, who has started every varsity match since she was a freshman (136 entering the tournament), averages 6.5 kills and five assists per match. Sophomore Kristi averages 4.9 kills and 7.9 assists per match, and each averages 4.5 digs. Junior Jennilee Gentry and sophomore Carrie Cheeks combine to average 5.3 kills and two blocks.
The Area 7-AAA tournament begins Thursday at four area high schools.
LaFayette hosts Ridgeland and Dalton hosts Gilmer County in matches starting at 5:30 p.m. Also at 5:30, Lumpkin County plays Pickens County at Ringgold with the winner taking on Ringgold at 6:45. Heritage plays Murray County at Southeast Whitfield at 5:30 with the winner playing Southeast afterward at 6:45.
The tournament will wrap up Saturday at Dalton.
Signal Mountain lost soccer goalkeeper Anna Althaus to a broken collarbone last week, but the Lady Eagles did not lose their coach.
Pam Shelton spoke about the questions Monday afternoon. She reportedly had canceled practice for a week, when actually cancellations by other teams forced Signal into a week of just practice. Shelton did admit to calling off practice Wednesday, when her son Cale, who plays for the Signal Mountain football team, broke his leg.
"I don't know where this is coming from," said Shelton, who said her athletic director had questioned her about the reports. "We lost five games over the past few weeks and so we've had to practice a lot more, but we're still out here practicing and trying to get better.
"I think it was a case where a parent at one school had spoke to parents at another school, and that's how this rumor got started. Some people just love to get after us."
The sixth-ranked Lady Eagles are 5-2-1 and finished 1-2 in the tough District 7-A/AA. They defeated fifth-ranked Page 3-2 on Saturday, having led 3-0 before Shelton emptied her bench.