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Red-hot Lassiter eliminates Blue Devils

NORCROSS - Lassiter showed again just how strong Area 1-AAAAA is, with Norcross the latest victim in the state volleyball tournament.

The Trojans - only a No. 4 seed - ousted 5-AAAAA champ North Cobb in the first round last week. Then they did the same thing to 7-AAAAA runner-up Norcross on Tuesday night in the second round.

Neither was really an upset, though. Lassiter is 40-10 and was ranked No. 7 in the GACA coaches poll at the end of the regular season. Five teams from Area 1-AAAAA were in the Top 10.

"Our area is so strong that you feel fortunate just to make it out," Lassiter coach Greg Hodge said. "Playing those teams makes you battle tested and tournament ready."

The match with North Cobb went the full five games and Norcross forced the Trojans to four games before Lassiter prevailed 25-22, 25-27, 25-17, 25-21 in front of a spirited crowd at Norcross.

"They gave us a battle, just like we expected," Hodge said. "Norcross has a very good team."

It was the second year in a row that Lassiter and Norcross were paired in the second round. The result was the same.

"This is the second straight time they got us," Norcross coach Kevin Dove said. "Last time it was five games. This time is was four. Both times we were very evenly matched teams."

Katy McCollister had 16 kills and two aces for Lassiter, while Emily Weissert had 40 assists and three kills. Melissa Woodall added 15 digs and Kaele Johnson had 13 kills.

With the victory, Lassiter advances to the quarterfinals on Saturday at Parkview. Seeding for the elite eight will be set today.

Briana Jordan had 21 digs and 12 kills for Norcross, which also lost a close match to Lassiter in September. Alex DeMercy added 18 kills and 11/2 blocks, while Rachel Monteagudo recorded 23 assists and two aces.

"Jordan is an incredible athlete, DeMercy hits the ball about as hard as anyone we face and the setter (Monteagudo) was crafty," Hodge said.

Macy Clark, who joined Jordan and Monteagudo as the Blue Devils' only seniors, also had a strong game, as did Sara Snider. Clark was credited with 22 digs and Snider with 34.