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Wesleyan captures another area title

NORCROSS - Wesleyan's dominance in volleyball continued as the Wolves swept crosstown rival Greater Atlanta Christian in three games to capture its seventh straight area title on Thursday night in the finals of the Area 4 AA/A tournament.

The area championship wasn't the only streak going as the Wolves (47-6) extended their current winning streak to 22 matches, a span that has seen Wesleyan lose just one game.

"Potential wise, this could be one of the best (teams) we've ever had," Wesleyan head coach Ted Russell said. "You never know, because of the youth on the team, what's going to happen when you get on the floor. Tonight when we started off, we got a little bit caught up in the emotion from all the fans but in the second game we came out played the way I think we expected to."

GAC (31-12), who was the last team to win a game against Wesleyan back on Sept. 27, showed a lot of energy in the first game and took control early with a 13-9 lead.

However, the Wolves regrouped, and took control and looked to have the game in hand at 24-20 when the Spartans scored the next four points to tie it at 24-24.

Megan Rosburg, who had served the last four points for GAC, tried to make it five in a row, but Grace Leah Baughn delivered a kill to put Wesleyan up 25-24. The Wolves took the game at 26-24 when Betsy Smith, who pounded out 15 kills on the night, dinked one in over two leaping GAC blockers.

Wesleyan took control early in Game 2 and was never threatened, winning 25-12. The third game also looked like it was going to be a Wesleyan runaway as the Wolves built an early 6-1 lead but GAC bounced back to take a 12-11 lead.

It was a back and forth affair after that but Wesleyan was able to slowly pull away for a 25-21 win. Anne Marie Armstrong, who was named to the All Tournament Team, capped things off for Wesleyan with her 15th kill.

"I have told them at least three times tonight how proud I am of them," GAC head coach Kristy Shelton said of her team. "They weren't satisfied with just being here in the championship game and came out playing as hard as they possibly could."

Sophomore Amanda Komisarow led GAC with 12 kills and six digs and was named to the All Tournament Team, compiling 71 kills during the tournament. Senior Alex Shelton also received All Tournament honors, tallying 19 assists against Wesleyan and finishing the tournament with 102 assists.

Tournament MVP honors went to Wesleyan's Betsy Smith. As a senior, Smith has known nothing but success at the Norcross private school.

"It's really exciting to be part of a team that has won four straight (area titles) in all my years here," Smith said. "Looking ahead a little bit, it's just one of the championships we need to win. We need to win sectionals and then we will have one more to play for."

Maggie Smith also had a strong match for Wesleyan with 33 assists and seven digs while Brooke Atkinson, who served three aces, was named to the All Tournament Team. Wesleyan will put another streak on the line in next week's Class AA/A state tournament as the Wolves shoot for their fourth straight state title.