Pope Completes Volleyball 3-Peat
The Lady Greyhounds defeat Whitewater, 3-1, to win the AAAA state championship.
Pope ended the volleyball season Saturday afternoon the same way it finished the past two seasons—as Georgia champions.
The Lady Greyhounds defeated Whitewater in four sets, 25-21, 25-27, 25-20, 25-13, to win the Georgia High School Association's AAAA state title before a raucous, costumed crowd at Marietta High School.
The win might have seemed inevitable for Pope, which hadn't lost so much as a set in its previous 22 matches, carried a 27-match winning streak into the season finale, and captured the AAAA title in 2010 and the AAAAA championship in 2009.
But Whitewater, with only three seniors, put more than a scare into a team packed with championship experience.
The Lady Greyhounds looked as if they would cruise to a championship when they led 23-18 in the second set after a routine win in the first set. Instead, the Lady Wildcats ran off five consecutive points, staved off a set point at 23-24 and evened the match.
The Greyhounds found themselves in a dogfight, trailing by as many as five points in the third set. Down 11-15, however, Pope took control with a 13-point run to secure the set.
Senior setter Mikaela Tracy served throughout that run, taking advantage of a favorable rotation Pope had spotted in scouting reports, coach Bryan Jones told the Marietta Daily Journal.
The Greyhounds carried that dominance through the fourth set, taking the lead for good at 3-2 and running away from the Wildcats.
Pope finished the year with a 43-2 record. Its only losses came to two other teams crowned state champions Saturday: AAA's Sandy Creek and AAAAA's Walton.