By Rory Sharrock
Walton 3, Chattahoochee 1
During its recent run of success, the Walton Lady Raiders have faced differing opponents in the volleyball title game, but the results have remained the same – championships.
This year’s obstacle in the Class AAAAAA final was Chattahoochee, but the outcome once again favored Walton as it won 3-1 [27-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-19] to claim its fourth consecutive GHSA championship. Walton’s overall volleyball title count increased to nine, which ranks second in Georgia.
“I’m so proud of this team. The girls stayed together and believed in each other. Walton is in a community where people are extremely supportive. The parents get the girls in club teams and our fans are extraordinary,” said Raiders head coach Suzanne Fitzgerald.
While Friday’s win was special for the community, it holds extra sentiments for the seniors. They capped off their careers with another state championship banner.
“When I came in as a freshman, I never thought that this would be part of my legacy to win four championships in a row,” said Walton senior middle blocker Leah Jackson. “We accomplished our goals and it was a team effort.”
McIntosh 3, Sequoyah 1
Last year this time, McIntosh had enough talent, but lacked the execution and ultimately fell short in the championship game.
Fast forward to 2013, and after 365 days of agonizing over what would’ve, could’ve and should’ve been, the Chiefs executed their talent to perfection by knocking off Sequoyah, 3-1 [25-11, 25-18, 21-25, 25-15], to clinch the Class AAAAA volleyball crown.
“From the first day we got together this summer, winning the championship has been our focus,” said McIntosh head coach Wendy Weaver. “Playing aggressively has been the key for us all season, especially tonight [Friday]. We kept them [Sequoyah] on their heels, which allowed us to control the pace.”
McIntosh is a veteran-laden team, and its seniors showed up in big fashion when it counted the most.
Outside hitters Abbi Schelkopf and Rhana Mitchell put up solid numbers all evening, as Schelkopf recorded 18 digs and Mitchell added 12 digs with 20 kills.
Setters Mollie Michel and Rhegan Mitchell, Rhana’s twin sister, conducted the offensive flow with fluidity, posting 24 and 19 assists apiece.