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SHS volleyball hosts first round of state playoffs

SHS volleyball hosts first round of state playoffs

SHS volleyball hosts first round of state playoffs

    In just three seasons, the Statesboro High volleyball program has gone from promising upstart to a team to be reckoned with.
    Last season, the Blue Devils made the Class AAAA state tournament, nearly pulling off a road upset against a top-seeded opponent in just their second year of existence. Statesboro is back for more this season and will kick off the state tournament tonight as it hosts Cedartown.
    “This success is just a testament to hard work,” SHS coach Bob Massee said. “Our girls have been getting after it in practices and all through the summer. We were thrilled to get to state last season. This year, getting back was a goal and now we’re ready to build on it.”
    As with just about any sport, the most dangerous teams are the ones that peak at just the right time. For the rest of the state tournament field, that makes facing the Devils a scary prospect.
    Statesboro (27-16) ripped off 11 consecutive match wins from Sept. 17 through Oct. 3 and have dropped just four matches — including the hard-fought Area 2 title game against South Effingham last weekend — since the first week of September.
    For their trouble, the Devils earned a No. 2 seed in the state playoffs and will take on the third-seeded Bulldogs out of Area 6. The late charge for a high seeding was vital for Statesboro. River Ridge and Carrolton made up the top two seeds out of the area and are ranked first and sixth, respectively, in the state. Instead of matching up with those powers, the Devils now have a much more favorable draw.
    “We’re definitely glad that we don’t have to face either of those schools,” Massee said. “As for Cedartown, we’re definitely not overlooking them. They don’t have the same great record of some other teams, but when you look at who they’ve had to play, you can see where some of those losses come from.”
    The best-of-three match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. tonight.
    From there, the winner will move on to face either Walnut Grove (No. 1 out of Area 8) or Dutchtown (No. 4, Area 4) in the second round on Oct. 22.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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