By Joe Deighton
The Pope Lady Greyhounds are generally regarded as one of the most dominant volleyball programs in the state of Georgia. They are vying for a third straight Class AAA state title this season despite losing three top players from last year. Senior outside hitter Mary Hannah Arrington should step into a leadership role after posting 452 kills, 275 digs and 92 aces a season ago. Maybe the biggest weapon on the Pope squad this year is 6-foot-4 senior right hitter Katie Barge. At the libero position will be defensive specialist and Georgia Tech commit Wimberly Wilson. The Lady Greyhounds have started off typically with a 9-1 overall record on the young season, despite taking a loss to McIntosh Tuesday night. … Chattahoochee has also started fast with an early 9-2 mark. The ’Hooch passed an early test by sweeping through the Sequoyah Tournament and defeating Sandy Creek to take the tournament title. Senior outside hitter Emily Corrigan has been outstanding so far, leading the team with 102 kills. Corrigan was unable to muster up enough kills in Chattahoochee’s last match against Pope as they lost 2-1 (19-25, 25-22, 15-12). … Junior setter Mary Katherine Schmitz of Our Lady of Mercy might be one of the best players in the state. She already holds five school records and those were set in her freshman year. In leading the Bobcats to eight wins in 10 matches so far this season, Schmitz has put her teammates in a great position to succeed by providing 171 assists. On the receiving end of those assists has been senior outside hitter Olivia Schmitz, who has 149 kills this year. Mary Katherine has also done some solo work by notching 25 aces. Junior defensive specialist Jenny Bui is right behind Schmitz with 24 aces so far. These two juniors should be highly sought after by colleges in the near future. … Roswell started the season slow by losing their first two matches against Whitewater and Milton. Since then, they have rattled of six straight victories. The winning streak is due in large part to their senior outside hitter Jennifer Shults. She leads the team with 110 kills and an average of 5.5 kills per game. The 5’11 Shults also serves as a defensive specialist when need be. She has 75 digs and averages 8.5 blocks per game, good enough for second on the team in both categories. Shults is also a top-notch student, she is committed to play volleyball for Harvard University in the Fall of 2012. … After back-to-back 30-plus win seasons, Sprayberry is poised to make a run in Class AAAA this year. The Lady Yellow Jackets return three top seniors from last years team in outside hitter Blair Winston, middle hitter Devin Judge and libero Gina Smith. Judge has emerged as the statistical leader with 77 kills and 11 aces this season. The Jackets have started inconsistently at 6-3, but look for the senior trio to put together some wins this week as they face Kennesaw Mountain, Etowah, Wheeler and South Cobb.