By Doug Gorman
Six high school volleyball teams from the Southern Crescent are out to change the perception that only squads from the northside of Atlanta can compete for state titles.
They will get their chance to showcase their volleyball talents starting Saturday when play begins in all classifications of the Georgia High School Association state tournament.
In the Class A/AA division, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy goes into its first ever GHSA tournament.
The Lady Chargers will open play against Gordon Lee in a match set for Lafayette High School.
The school's athletic department elected to join the GHSA this fall and has enjoyed success in all of its fall sports.
The ELCA volleyball team made a name for itself early in the regualar season by winning the county championship. The Lady Chargers beat Eagle's Landing, which has earned a bid to the Class AAAA tournament.
Eagle's Landing made it to the tournament by winning the Area 3-AAAA tournament title. The Lady Golden Eagles defeated Hardaway last week in the finals of the region tournament, sweeping the match in three games.
The Lady Golden Eagles open play in the state tournament against Lithia Springs at Woodstock High School.
The victory in the region finals gave the Lady Golden Eagles a perfect 12-0 record against region opponents.
"Winning says an awful lot about team," Eagle's Landing coach Christine Ward said after her team's victory in the region finals. "We overcame some adversity this year, so this is the ultimate victory by a special group."
The other two teams from the Southern Crescent are across the county line in Clayton County as Jonesboro and Mt. Zion also earned a bid to the Class AAAA state tournament.
Mt. Zion is also begins play at Woodstock High School and would play Eagle's Landing if both teams win their first-round matches.
Jonesboro plays Northwest Whitfield at Henry County High School in its first-round game. The Lady Cardinals are 31-0 this season and haven't lost a regular-season match since the 2002 season.
Morrow and Mundy's Mill earned bids to the Class AAAAA tournament. Morrow plays against Camden County at Marietta High School, and Mundy's Mill takes on Glynn Academy at Kell High School.
All first-round matches begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.