Northwest Georgia volleyball teams were 3-for-3 Wednesday in the quarterfinal round of the GHSA state playoffs, marking milestones for two of the programs and providing a shot at revenge for the other.
Heritage, Northwest Whitfield and Gordon Lee will attempt to reach the championship round Saturday after each won by sweep.
Heritage and Northwest Whitfield, rivals in Region 7, made it to the state semifinals for the first time.
The Lady Generals won 25-15, 25-19, 25-14 at Central-Carroll as Lauren Francis led the attack with nine kills, 11 assists, four aces and 12 digs. Anna Wilks had 11 digs, seven aces and three kills, with Abbey Blevins adding four kills and three aces, and Kallie Carter six kills and four blocks.
"What stood out for us the most today was that we kept our focus on the set as we were in it," said Heritage coach Kari Cooper, whose team will host Marist at 1 p.m. Saturday. "If we had a play or two where we didn't do our jobs, the girls stayed focused, fixed the issue and moved on. They had each other's backs and played as a team."
Northwest (33-10), region runner-up to Heritage in the regular season, used a huge first-set rally to get past Islands in Savannah. The hosts led 23-17 before the Lady Bruins rallied for a 29-27 win, then won the next two sets 25-15 and 25-20, setting up a semifinal match at Jefferson.
Gordon Lee had little trouble against Toombs County in Chickamauga, winning 25-4, 25-12, 25-8. Brooklyn Hudson had 12 kills and five digs, with Gracie Thomas adding five blocks and three kills, M.K. Roberts six aces, four assists and eight digs, and Emoree Rogers five blocks, eight assists and four kills.
At 12:30 p.m. Saturday, the Lady Trojans (36-11) will host Elite Scholars Academy, the team that put Gordon Lee out in the semifinals a year ago.
"For the past three years we have made it to the final four, but this year we played in a lot of bigger tournaments to get ready for the state playoffs," Gordon Lee coach Adam Crowley said. "Even though we have more losses this year, those losses taught us a lot and prepared us to win the big games. We are all very excited to have the chance to get revenge on an Elite Scholars team that put us out last year."
The Heritage boys' and girls' teams both finished as runners-up in the Region 7-AAAA meet Tuesday at Pickens High School, qualifying for this weekend's state meet in Carrollton.
Heritage also had the individual runners-up in each race, with Gavin Chandler second to Pickens' Sam Hall and Allison Craft runner-up to Central-Carroll's Lucy Barker.
Other top-20 finishers for the boys were Davis Justice (12th), Cecil Bussey (16th) and Collin Black (20th). Mia Callahan finished 11th and Lila Langston 14th for the girls.
The Pickens boys and Central-Carroll girls were the team champions. Gavin Oliver of Northwest Whitfield finished sixth in the boys' race, while Noah Aguilar, Angel Garcia and Hector-Daniel Segoviano from Southeast Whitfield finished seventh, ninth and 10th, respectively as the Raiders tied Heritage for second place and earned a state trip.
Lexi Lyon finished fourth for Northwest's girls, with Southeast's Guadalupe Martinez and Karla Henderson ninth and 10th, respectively, for the third-place Lady Raiders.
The schedule is set for this weekend's GHSA fastpitch state championships in Columbus.
In Class AAAA, Region 7 champion Heritage will face West Laurens in a semifinal at 3 p.m. Friday. The other semifinal is Region 7 runner-up Central-Carroll versus LaGrange. The two winners and losers will play again at 7, with the double-elimination tournament's championship round set to begin at 3 on Saturday, with a second game to follow if necessary.
In Class AAA, Region 6 No. 4 seed Ringgold goes against Pike County at 3 on Friday, with Region 6 program Rockmart facing Oconee County in the other semifinal. The next round is at 7, with the championship round at 3 on Saturday.
In Class A public, Region 6 champion Gordon Lee and Emanuel County Institute play at 1 on Friday, with Commerce and Bryan County facing off in the other semifinal. The next round is 5, with the title round at 4 on Saturday.