BLAIRSVILLE, GA- Union County (17-7,8-0) hosted the Armuchee Indians (24-15,9-0) in the Sweet Sixteen matchup of the GHSA A/AA Volleyball State Tournament .
The Lady Panthers are coming off a victory against Atlanta Classical Academy, which they won in four sets, 3-1. The Armuchee Indians are coming off a victory against Fannin County, which they won in four sets, 3-1.
These teams were pretty evenly matched and it showed. Both teams battled it out with scoring going back and forth in each set. The Lady Panthers had huge performances by Sophomore Sofia Swartz and Junior Morgan Fussell. The Indians were led by Senior Mercedes McLaughlin, Junior Emily Tomlin and Sophomore Bailey Tomlin.
It started off the way you would’ve thought, each team going back and forth in scoring. After being tied 4-4 early, the Lady Panthers went on a run, scoring 5 quick points making it 9-4. The Indians would not stay down, quickly tying the score at 9-9 led by Senior Mercedes McLaughlin and Sophomore Bailey Tomlin. Things again went back and forth with each team was playing great throughout the rest of the set. Late in the set, the score was tied at 18 but The Lady Panthers started pulling away towards the end, led by Juniors Saylor Noe and Riley Allison. The Lady Panthers won the first set 25-21.
Armuchee got off to a hot start, scoring 5 quick points, leading 5-1 early. The Indians were scoring quick points by Senior Molli Womack and Sophomore Bailey Tomlin. The Lady Panthers came storming back, quickly tying the game at 7. The Lady Panthers kept their foot on the gas led by Junior Morgan Fussell. Just as you thought things were going the Panthers’ way, the Indians came storming back, pulling within 1. The Indians kept things close, eventually taking the lead late, 22-19. That is when things got interesting. The set went back and forth yet again as the score was tied at 24. In order to win it has to be by 2 points. Each team held their ground and wouldn’t let up one bit, even when their backs were against the wall when down by 1. Both teams showed they deserved to move on to the Elite Eight. The Lady Panthers would end up winning the set, 31-29.
Again, Armuchee got off to a hot start, leading 10-5 early on. The Indians knew their backs were against the wall and were fighting to win one set and have a chance to play another. The Indians really held the momentum during the whole set. They started off strong and finished strong. The Indians were again led by Senior Molli Womack and Sophomore Bailey Tomlin. The Lady Panthers did not play their best game but did make a comeback late in the set, pulling within one, but failing to tie or take the lead. The Indians won the 3rd set, 25-21.
The Lady Panthers struggled to get going early in the fourth set but credit to Armuchee for starting off strong. The Lady Panthers would take the lead 7-6 and never looked back. The Panthers had huge performances again by Junior Saylor Noe and Junior Morgan Fussell. The Lady Panthers finished the set strong to seal the victory and advance to their second Elite Eight. The Panthers won the fourth set, 25-17.
Union travels to Davidson Fine Arts on Wednesday for the Elite Eight matchup. Both teams are No. 1 seeds.
The Union County Lady Panthers (17-7,8-0) hosted Atlanta Classical Academy (6-9,5-4) for Round One of the Class A/AA State Tournament. Union dominated in Region 8-AA all season, going undefeated in region 8-AA. Atlanta Classical Academy finished fourth in Area 5-A/AA. As you know, in the state tournament, all records get thrown out the window and each team gets the chance to go on a run and ruin any teams good season.
In the first set, the Lady Panthers got off to a hot start, scoring the first 4 points and then went on a 6-1 run before ACA called their first timeout. After the timeout, Union took control of the game only allowing 5 points in the rest of the set. Union won the first set, 25-9.
The second set started off very competitive. ACA started off strong, leading most of first few minutes and making the most of their opportunities. Union started to pull away midway through the set, taking control of the set offensively and defensively. Union held a 22-13 lead and ACA started storming back. ACA went on a 9-0 run to make it 24-21. Union did settle down and get the game point to win the second set, 25-21.
In the third set, ACA picked the right time to play their best game. It was win or go home. ACA took the momentum from the end of the second set and ran with it. They got off to a hot start and kept the momentum throughout the whole set. Even though the Lady Panthers didn’t play their best game, they went on a few scoring runs late to make things interesting but fell short at the end, losing 25-23.
In the fourth set, the Lady Panthers got things back on track and won the fourth and final set 25-18. The Lady Panthers advance to their second straight Sweet 16 where they will host the Armuchee Indians (22-13) on Saturday at noon.