For some Walton County volleyball teams, the season goes on as the state tournament arrives.
And for others, the 2020 campaign is now in the history book following their respective region tournaments.
Despite having COVID-19 cause havoc during the preseason and even with having to deal with a mid-season coaching change, the Walnut Grove High School volleyball team has certainly made the most of the 2020 season.
Coach Ashley Benedict stepped down during the regular season and athletic director Taylor Brooks is now guiding the program.
With a 10-19 overall record, the Lady Warriors defeated Loganville High School in the Region 8-AAAAA tournament last week to punch their ticket to state.
Walnut Grove then fell to Greenbrier and Jackson County in the region tournament but the team has already exceeded expectations.
Seniors Emily Hyman and Chassidy King are team captains for the Lady Warriors. Other seniors providing leadership have included Kinsey Wade, Randy Daniell, Neely Smith, Halaina Yancey and Gracie Needham.
Walnut Grove was scheduled to play at St. Pius on Tuesday in the opening round of the Class AAAAA state tournament.
Coach Joe King’s Loganville High School completed its 2020 season at 16-20 overall. The Lady Devils fell in the opening round of the Region 8-AAAAA tournament to county rival Walnut Grove preventing them from qualifying for state.
Juniors Grace Hodges and Jamie Thomas both had standout seasons for LHS. Hodges recorded 73 kills, 14 solo blocks (43 total) and 28 aces. Thomas finished with 118 kills with 12 solo blocks (32 total) and 45 aces.
Teammate Makayla Stolarik, a sophomore, finished with 173 kills with 18 total blocks. Stolarik also had 172 digs and 56 aces.
Allie Gubash was also one of the team’s statistical leaders as the junior had 185 kills, 238 digs and 60 aces.
The GWA Lady Dogs defeated Athens Christian School 3-0 in the opening round of the Region 8-A private volleyball tournament which officially punched their ticket to the state tournament.
GWA then fell to Tallulah Falls 3-0 in the second round of region last week.
Junior Delaney Sims will help lead the team into state play. Sims has 187 kills, 151 assists, 66 aces, 79 digs, and 187 kills. Junior Abby Wright has 33 aces, 120 digs, 14 assists and 140 kills with 30 total blocks.
Sophomore Kelsey Gasaway has 278 assists, 52 aces, 140 digs and 151 kills while teammate Jesse Wood, a senior, has contributed 112 digs and 17 aces.
GWA, coached by Amanda Riser, benefited from playing a strong regular season schedule going against several larger non-region foes with victories against Grayson, Collins Hills and Winder-Barrow.
The Lady Dogs (14-15 overall) wrapped up the regular season with a 3-0 non-region victory against Peachtree Academy on the road.
“Being fourth is not where we wanted to be but we have dealt with a lot of ups and downs this season,” Riser said. “We have a lot of young players with raw talent.”
The Lady Dogs are scheduled to travel to Holy Innocents on Wednesday for the first round of the state tournament.
“We will look to have good practices leading into the match,” Riser said. “We need to be prepared mentally. We are going to go out and have fun and hopefully learn from the experience.”
Athens Academy won the 8-A private tournament followed by Tullulah Falls, Prince Avenue and GWA.
The Lady Lions completed their 2020 season at 10-19 overall and in fifth place in Region 8-A private at 2-4.
The team fell to Prince Avenue Christian in the opening round of the region tournament last week.
Mark Dossett returned to coaching the LCA team this season. The coach said youth, inexperience and injuries each played a role in the team’s 2020 campaign.
Ansley King and Reagan Shultz, both seniors, were the team captains this fall. Isabella Gonzalez was also a senior for Dossett’s team.
Building depth will be a key for the program in the future, Dossett said. LCA had one sophomore and five freshmen this season.
The challenging 2020 season has come to a close for Monroe Area High School.
Returning just three varsity players from 2019, the Lady Canes were unable to record a victory this season finishing 0-19 overall and 0-9 in Region 8-AAA.
Athletic director Eli Connell stepped in as coach after Nicole Richards had to step away toward the end of the season.