NORCROSS - It was tough to decipher the Greater Atlanta Christian and Savannah Christian volleyball players Tuesday afternoon, with both teams sporting the same shade of red jerseys and black shorts. The only glaring difference was a hint of black on the visitors' sleeves, and their black headbands.
And that GAC had Amanda Komisarow.
The Spartan senior dominated the smaller Raiders with 23 kills, many coming at opportune times when Class AA/A's sixth-ranked team saw its lead dwindling. Those powerful spikes, and nice setting from Catherine Chason, guided GAC to a 25-16, 25-14, 25-7 win over Savannah Christian.
The Spartans (30-6) advance to Saturday's elite eight at Wesleyan.
"(Komisarow) was hitting just about everything Catherine put up there," GAC head coach Kristy Shelton said.
Chason finished with 32 assists and four aces, playing a direct role in the big night by Komisarow, one of three seniors on a GAC roster that features nine sophomores, including Chason.
Courtney Parker (10 kills), Rachel Waldrop (eight digs, six kills), Emily Parker (seven digs) and Ali Cox (five kills) also had solid performances for the Spartans, while Komisarow added eight digs.
GAC got off to fast starts in all three games, cruising into the quarterfinals.
"We have struggled a little bit with starting strong," Shelton said. "But in the hallway leading into (the Long Forum), that was the loudest I've ever heard the girls. I knew they were ready. I knew we had it today."
After jumping up 10-3 in Game 1, GAC allowed the momentum to slip. Savannah Christian closed to within 16-15, then the Spartans closed the game with a 9-1 run. The first five points of the run were Komisarow kills.
Kills by Komisarow and Cox, along with two aces from Chason, led a late charge to finish off Game 2. The third game was all GAC, with Jess Baker (two kills, one block) joining another big effort from Komisarow. The GAC hitter had seven kills and an ace in the final frame.
"This was the first time I was really impressed with our passing and our defense," Shelton said. "Our service D was the best I've seen all year. I've got three seniors (Komisarow, Parker and Katie Stevens) and nine sophomores, and the sophomores are playing with a lot of confidence. The sophomores are coming on at just the right time."