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Blue Devils roll, advance at state

    Three years ago, Statesboro didn’t even have a volleyball team.
    Now, the Lady Devils are one of just 16 left in Georgia with a chance of clinching the Class AAAA state championship.
    Statesboro made it to the state playoffs last season in just its second year of competition. The Devils made the field again this season and continued their progress, easily sweeping past Ceadartown in a 25-11, 25-11, 25-13 decision Wednesday evening.
    “I’m really impressed by this team,” SHS coach Bob Massee said. “In our three years of playing, I don’t think we’ve ever been as focused and on our game as we were tonight.”
    The Devils have looked nothing like a new program should. Statesboro took its lumps in its first season, but mad immediate progress in 2012. The Devils won 11 in a row at the end of this year’s regular season and powered to a second place finish in their area tournament.
    Statesboro nearly pulled an upset in the first round of the state tournament last year and — true to form — continued to take new steps this time around. The Devils outclassed the Lady Bulldogs from the start and never let their opponent get into the game.
    “Cedartown is a solid team,” Massee said. “They tried to play solid defense and let us make mistakes. But we served well all night. We kept them off the net and were able to put home a lot of points.”
    With the win, Statesboro moves into the second round.
    The Devils will play again next Tuesday, Oct. 22. The likely scenario will be a road game against Area 8 champion Walnut Grove out of Gwinnett County, although Statesboro could host Dutchtown.
    Either way, the Devils have no thoughts of slowing down.
    “I honestly believe that we can be an Elite Eight team,” Massee said. “I really wish that we could just get back on the court and start the second round right now. We’ll get back to practice and wait until next week, but I’m confident that we’ll come out ready to play again in our next match.”

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