Before Allatoona’s Girls Lacrosse game last night (3/12/20), the Girls Volleyball team received their much-awaited state championship rings. The rings are a reminder of how much the championship means to both the team and the program. It was Allatoona’s first state championship in volleyball.
“It was extra special for me,” said Athletic Director Amie Howard, “because I started the volleyball program at Allatoona. I remember crying when they won because I was personally able to see the progression of the program and how hard those girls worked to earn that ring.”
The championship game itself, played at Marietta High School, was an emotional and exciting event. Allatoona played their regional-rival the Sequoyah Chiefs for the title. The two schools were the #1 and #2 seed from Region 6-6A, with the Bucs in second place. The teams had played each other three times in 2019, including the Region Championship, and the Chiefs won all three times. The state title game would prove to be a different story.
The Bucs shutout every team they encountered throughout the playoffs. They easily dismissed Habersham Central, Drew, Greenbrier, and Alpharetta in 3-0 sets on their path to the championship game. Sequoyah took a bit more convincing but the Bucs were able to prevail, eliminating the Chiefs with a tie-breaking final fifth set, 3-2.
“As a coach, you just put the right team together,” said Head Coach Joseph Soley. “The girls did the right things. They worked hard and it paid off. It’s nice that these seniors get to go out as winners, because once they make it so have their families and the rest of the school. That’s what makes me happy.”
Wearing shirts with “Last 29” written across the shoulders, this Buc team was an example of perseverance. “It says it on our shirts and on our rings,” Coach Soley said. “Last 29 is finishing the last 29 feet of the 29,029 feet of Mount Everest. It closes the chapter. It makes me emotional just thinking about it.”
Coach Soley took over the team in 2012 from Amie Howard and his been the coach ever since. “Outside of my wife winning a state championship in volleyball and being a spectator, I knew nothing about the competitive side of the game. I learned the game within two years and surrounded myself with great people like assistant coach Matt Kempf. Of course, we had great players, too. They were dedicated.”
Congratulations to the Allatoona Volleyball team and everyone connected to the program. We look forward with anticipation to next season as you defend your state title!