The Fellowship varsity volleyball team has advanced to the state volleyball tournament for the first time in school history. The second-seeded Lady Paladins host the Darlington School of Rome in the opening round at Paladin Gym on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 5:30 p.m.
The winner of Wednesday’s match will advance in the single-elimination tournament to face the winner of the Brookstone School and Our Lady of Mercy contest in the second round on Oct. 22. The Single A tournament features 24 teams from six Areas.
The Lady Paladins (25-7 overall) were swept in three sets by undefeated and top-seeded Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in the championship of the Area Five Volleyball Tournament in Atlanta on Thursday, Oct. 10. Despite the loss, the Lady Paladins are ranked ninth among Single A schools in the state poll and are ready for the state tournament.
What’s been the secret to success this year for the history-making Lady Paladins?
“Unity and scrappiness,” head coach Leah Smith said. “This team has rallied together to support one another on and off the court all season. For many years we have been known as one of the scrappiest teams in the region, and we continue to carry that reputation. They have come back from behind many times this season to win matches, and never gave up.”
Scrappiness and defending outside hits well will be important against Darlington, according to Smith.
“We have not played Darlington this season, but I think blocking well and eliminating errors will be important [against Darlington],” she said. “Playing our game is really what we need most to be successful.”
Overall, Smith said the key to a successful state tournament will include blocking well and hitting the ball hard.
“We also need to make sure we eliminate errors and start out each game at our best,” she said. “We need to eliminate slow starts.”