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Blue Devils reach new heights
SHS Volleyball
The Statesboro High volleyball team celebrates as the Lady Blue Devils begin to pull away during their straight sets victory over Veterans High, Tuesday, in the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs. With the win, the Devils have reached the state quarterfinals for the first time in program history. - photo by JOSH AUBREY

Bob Massee has two young sons, but you may say he has three children, as he started the Statesboro volleyball team from its infancy in 2012. Tuesday night, Massee was beaming like a proud papa as his Blue Devils knocked off Veterans in three straight games to advance to the school’s first ever state Class 5-A quarterfinals.

“Being a part of this sport for as long as I have, and seeing how we have come this far, this fast, is just beyond my wildest dreams,” Massee said. “To see the legacy this group of girls is leaving behind is just an honor to be a part of it.”

“To see these girls go from where they were at the beginning of the season, to doing what they did tonight is incredible,” Massee said. “We’ve been taking about getting to the elite eight since the first day of practice. I’ve been saying let’s put Statesboro on the map in volleyball, and we have now done that.”

Veterans was actually playing their second team of the night, as they had to knock off Eagles Landing in a best of five series before advancing to take on the Blue Devils. The Warhawks defeated Eagles Landing in three straight, but couldn’t muster a victory in a single match against the Blue Devils.

Statesboro took game one 25-18, game two 25-20, and the third and decisive game 25-19. Each game had one thing in common, the Blue Devils led throughout, and each game had streaky scoring, which included the Blue Devils jumping out to a 10-0 lead in Game 3.

“Our girls have really learned to just let things go, and just focus on one point at a time,” Massee said. “Volleyball is a game of runs, you can’t get too high, or too low, and once you side out you can go on a run yourself.”

The win puts the Blue Devils into uncharted waters as they make their first appearance in the state quarterfinals, and once again they will have the luxury of being able to be home, as they will host Buford.

“Being in the elite eight is enough of an accomplishment, being able to host is just the icing on top,” Massee said. “We are hosting a perennial power in Buford, but I say why not us?  We will get to play in front of our home crowd once again, and who knows.”

Statesboro and Buford will play Saturday at Statesboro at a yet to be determined time.