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Collins Hill claims third straight area volleyball title

SUWANEE - Dacula's volleyball team is good. Good enough to be ranked eighth in the state and to have lost just once in Area 8-AAAAA in the regular season.

The only problem for the Falcons is that Collins Hill is in the same region and might be a great team. The fourth-ranked Eagles easily defeated Dacula 25-13, 25-19, 25-22 in the best-of-five Area 8-AAAAA championship games on Thursday.

Collins Hill head coach Stan Carpenter said this team is probably the best he's had, which is saying a lot for a program that has won the last two area titles and three since 1999.

"This team is finally together," Carpenter said. "Each girl has a part of the team and they do not have to rely on just one or two girls. They know that they have to play well to make it happen."

The Eagles (34-9) got off to a fast start, scoring 10 of the first 14 points in Game 1 and pulling away to win 25-13. Dacula (28-16) tried to get some momentum back, scoring the first two points in Game 2 and stayed with Collins Hill step for step, even after the Eagles went up 13-9. But the Falcons only got as close as two points and fell 25-19.

Again in the third game, Dacula took the lead and held it at 10-7. But Collins Hill is ranked fourth for a reason and went on a 10-3 run that ended any hopes of a Falcon upset. Dacula cut the gap to 24-22 before Collins Hill ended it with a kill by Chelsea Proffit to take home the title.

"They just took us and outplayed us," Dacula head coach Kevin Condon said. "They pass so well, they cover everything. They play good defense and you can't stop that. Plus they can hit it, too."

Collins Hill captain Rayven Tirado said that this win was the peak of their season.

"We haven't played that well all season long," she said. "We kept our defense up and we did everything we were supposed to do. We were loud and had great communication and I think we have a great chance to get to the final four."

Tirado finished the night with 13 assists, four aces and a team-high 11 digs. Proffit added 12 kills, while an injured Katie Winschel had 11. Kelsey Foster chipped in with a team-high 19 assists.

Eve Machovec and Arielle Rutter each had six kills to lead the Falcons, while Rose Corneille had a game-high 20 assists and Rachel Dyer finished with 19 digs and five kills.