The eighth-ranked Lady Eagles (29-20) will host Campbell, the No. 3 seed of Area 4AAAAA, in Thursday’s first-round match. Etowah would then likely travel to ninth-ranked Brookwood for a match the Lady Eagles know they’re capable of winning after beating the Lady Broncos earlier this season.
“I feel good based on how our girls were playing Saturday (at the 1AAAAA tournament),” Etowah coach Kim Robertson said. “I feel good about our draw and know Campbell will be athletic. We just have to get our girls prepared and be ready to play.”
Etowah appears to be peaking at the right time, and the Lady Eagles put themselves in a good position in the playoffs when they defeated Lassiter 26-24, 25-23 for a chance to play for the area championship.
Even though the Lady Eagles fell to a more experienced Walton team, they seemed to be clicking on the front and back rows. In the end, Etowah hitters Jenna Wilt, Simmy Bray and Megan Emery made the all-area team.
Blocking played a pivotal role in Etowah’s victory over Lassiter. The Lady Eagles had 14 block-assists in the match — with 10 coming in the first set — and four solos.
Woodstock (25-18), which settled for the No. 4 seed out of 1AAAAA, will have to travel, but it does have a manageable draw to the state quarterfinals. Defensive specialist/libero Paige Trammell, another member of the all-area team, and the Lady Wolverines will open at East Coweta on Thursday.
If they advance, they will travel to Beach or Parkview in the second round. Neither of those teams is ranked.
Sequoyah and Creekview, the county’s Class AAAA teams, are expecting a more difficult journey after coming up short against Pope and Sprayberry, respectively, in the Area 7AAAA tournament.
Creekview (28-19) will have to travel to second-ranked Chattahoochee, last year’s state runner-up, on Thursday, while Sequoyah (32-14) will be a couple of miles away at No. 4 Johns Creek, which made the state semifinals last year.
Unlike Etowah, sixth-ranked Sequoyah didn’t finish strong in area play. After the Lady Chiefs were upset by a younger Creekview team in their final Area 7AAAA tri-match last Tuesday, they came up short against Sprayberry in the 7AAAA tournament, with a spot in the final at stake.
Led by middle hitters Carley Roberts and Brittnee Jones, Sequoyah struggled to finish both sets against Sprayberry after taking early leads and had to settle for a 25-23, 25-22 loss.
The Lady Chiefs, who beat Johns Creek in three sets back in August, are expecting to regroup this week with hopes of returning to form when they won their 17th Cherokee County play date at the beginning of the month.
“Looking at it, you never want your first round of state to be a top-four team, but it is what it is,” Sequoyah coach John Edwards said. “We’ve played them before and seen a little bit of what they’ve done and probably changed few things here and there, but playing them before is going to help.”