Corey Cusick/ Times-Georgian
There was high drama buzzing throughout Criswell Court on Tuesday evening, and in the end the Carrollton High School volleyball team bumped up from sweet to elite.
The top-seeded Lady Trojans captured a five-set thriller over second-seeded and eighth-ranked Loganville in the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs to advance to the elite eight for the third time in program history and the first time since 2013.
Carrollton raced out to a 2-0 lead over the Lady Red Devils behind 25-23 and 25-21 victories, but the visitors didn't go down quietly. Loganville answered with 25-19 and 25-21 decisions setting up a winner-take-all fifth set.
Needless to say, Carrollton head coach Kasey Austin endured the gamut of emotions before being able to celebrate one of the most memorable victories in program history.
"It was as many ups and downs as you could imagine. Taking the first two sets and then dropping the next two, I was really worried of how that would play to our momentum. But the girls just wanted that win so bad. They came back fighting," Austin said. "Loganville's a good, good team. They kept us on our toes the whole game. We didn't know whether they were going to hit or tip. So it definitely was challenging for the defense, but they wanted it so bad. They just went out there and got it done by whatever means necessary."
"They're really invested in this season. They know that this is our strongest team we've ever had. This team can go all the way until the end," Austin said. "So just being able to have that experience to lean on and for the younger girls to see them stay calm and just do what needs to be done to get the job done, that plays a big role for us."
Moving forward, the remaining eight teams in Class AAAAA will be reseeded for the quarterfinal round, where the top four teams will host on Saturday. The semifinals are set for next Wednesday and the finals will be held at Marietta High School on Saturday, Oct. 28.
"I have no idea where we'll fall. Regardless, we'll be going up against a strong team," Austin said. "I imagine I'll know something (late Tuesday) night as the results come in. So I'll just be hitting refresh on my browser."