From Staff Reports
The Jonesboro volleyball team won the Area 4-AAAA championship Saturday with a three-game sweep of Ola.
The Lady Cardinals (35-10) get the top seed in the Class AAAA playoffs, which begin Thursday, and host Creekview (27-14).
"I told this team after we won the area that I have never been more proud of a team then I am now," Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman said.
"We made it our goal to win the county, area and get back to state.
We have now accomplished all three.
It took awhile to get things started, but it finally came together."
Indeed, Jonesboro entered the season in tenuous condition. Six seniors graduated. All-area setter Kierra Dennis transferred to Forest Park, forcing Maehlman to insert unseasoned sophomores into the starting lineup.
When the Lady Cardinals lost to Ola, 25-13, 25-16, on August 21, they were 3-6.
But Jonesboro rebounded quickly, winning 21 of its next 23 matches.
Instead of rebuilding, the Lady Cardinals are in the state playoffs for the ninth straight season.
"I never started out expecting to build a volleyball power at Jonesboro," Maehlman said.
"I wanted to build a (boys) basketball team, but as it turns out we have been able to do both and that's pretty cool."
AREA CHAMPS: Jonesboro wasn't the only Southern Crescent volleyball team to win an area championship this Saturday.
No. 3-ranked Eagle's Landing Christian (30-11) defeated Our Lady of Mercy twice to capture the Area 3-AA/A championship.
Locust Grove won the Area 4-AAA championship with a three-game sweep of Veterans.
GOING TO STATE: Six other teams from the Southern Crescent qualified for the state volleyball tournament.
Luella advanced out of Area 2-AAAAA; Forest Park, Ola and Union Grove advanced out of Area 4-AAAA; and Drew and Eagle's Landing advanced out of Area 4-AAA.