The tournament — which was the first since the GHSA divided Class A and AA into their own classifications — concluded on Saturday at Murray County, and the final day saw three second-year programs earn either their first-ever or first-in-a long time berths to the state tournament.
It also saw a school win their first area championship in the school’s history.
All throughout the regular season, the Calhoun Lady Yellow Jackets dominated Area 5-AA and that continued throughout the tournament.
The Lady Jackets swept Armuchee in the semifinals, and then swept the Lady Indians in the best-of-five sets in the championship round.
“I’ve been coaching a long time and every win is important to you, but to be the first at a school is awesome,” said Calhoun coach Randy Rice. “It means a lot not only to me, but to all the girls.”
The tournament title was a fitting addition to Calhoun’s successful season.
Leading the Lady Jackets to the championship was the play of the Taylor Palmer. The older of the two Palmer sisters who play, Molly being the younger, Taylor finished the final game with 17 kills and 10 aces.
After the championship game, the 5-AA All-Area team was announced, with Taylor and Kalyn Svihra being selected by the area coaches to the first team, and Molly was an honorable mention.
The championship round was a best-of-five sets, and after winning the first two 25-10 and 25-13, the Lady Yellow Jackets had to dig down deep to finish the sweep of the Lady Indians.
Armuchee built a lead, and led for most of the match, until Calhoun finished strong to end up winning the third set 26-24.
“I have to give Armuchee a lot of credit, they did not quit and played hard,” said Rice. “They came after us in the last set and we had to go win it and the girls did.”
Calhoun swept Armuchee 25-13 and 25-15 earlier in the day to reach the finals.
“They worked hard and never got down, just exhausted,” said Armuchee coach Stacy Payne. “It’s just part of it, and we were just happy to be the number two seed.”
Calhoun will enter the AA state tournament as a No. 1 seed, while Armuchee will be the No. 2-seed. Both teams get to host in the opening round matches at state. The Lady Jackets will host Jefferson, the No. 4 seed from 6-AA in the first round on Wednesday starting at 6:30 p.m.
Also representing 5-AA in the state tourney will be the No. 3 seed Chattooga and No. 4-Coosa.