Brookwood’s Jordan Shipman (9) blocks the shot of Archer’s Breanna Ashekun (13) during the Region 8 AAAAAA finals Wednesday night at Dacula. (Photo: Karl L. Moore)
DACULA — Top seed Brookwood continued to play its best volleyball at the right time of the season as the Broncos captured their fourth straight Area 7-AAAAAA title with a 25-7, 25-21, 25-16 win over No. 3 seed Archer on Wednesday night.
Brookwood (22-20) didn’t lose a set in its three matches during the two-day tournament and will move on to next week’s state tournament as the top seed from 7-AAAAAA, which brings with it the opportunity to host first-round action.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the team is playing,” said Brookwood head coach Brian Welsch. “We’ve battled through some injuries and just had a lot of things to work through. So it’s nice now to have our team playing so well. Even after playing well (Tuesday), I still had the pre-final jitters and didn’t sleep well last night. But we came out again today and got it done. I couldn’t be happier.”
After knocking off No. 4 seed Dacula on Tuesday night, Brookwood came back on Wednesday and defeated No. seed Parkview 25-9, 25-10 to advance into the championship match.
Meanwhile, Archer was having to climb its way back through the loser’s bracket. After playing three matches on Tuesday — defeating No. 6 seed Berkmar and No. 4 Grayson but losing to Parkview — Archer would again play three more on Wednesday.
“We probably had an advantage playing one match yesterday and one today before playing Archer,” Welsch said. “We had to play first today against a very hard-working Parkview team, but Archer played three (sets) against Dacula and then three more against Parkview today. So I’m sure it had to affect them after a long day yesterday, too.”
Day 2 started well for Archer as the Tigers got past No. 5 seed Dacula and Parkview to get into the championship match against Brookwood. But the toll of six matches in 28 hours proved to be too much for Archer as Brookwood won in straight sets to claim the crown.
“I’m very pleased with the way we came out and fought,” said Archer head coach Andy Cash. “I was especially pleased in the way we played against Parkview after they beat us twice, including once in the area tournament last night. We lost that first game today (against Parkview) and then battled back to win it in three to get to the championship. Being the No. 2 seed coming out of this area is a first in history for Archer and I’m very proud of this team.”
Along with Archer (20-23), Parkview will be the No. 3 seed and Dacula the No. 4 seed from Area 7-AAAAAA in the state tournament next week. In Set 1, Brookwood won the first five points and eventually won 11 of the final 14 points in the set to take the 18-point win. Archer found some energy and played better in the second set as the Tigers hung tough.
After pulling even with the Brookwood at 20-all, Archer took its first lead of the match at 21-20. But Brookwood held steady and scored the final five points to claim the four-point win in Set 2 in the best-of-five match.
Archer also lost middle hitter Lanisha Thomas to a knee injury midway through the second set and she did not return for the remainder of the match. In Set 3, Brookwood grabbed the lead at 4-3 early on and never trailed again en route to the nine-point victory and another area title. Amelia Collins had 14 kills while Janet Galvez had 12 kills combined in the two matches for Brookwood.
Kierra Shipman and Kendall Hardy each added nine kills while Jordan Shipman had five kills and 52 assists and Clara Sims added kills for the Broncos. Collins and Jordan Shipman each had four service aces and Gianna Zitello added three services aces in the championship match. Archer was led by Zanayah Richardson’s seven digs, four kills and one service ace in the championship match while Danae Jones had three kills, one dig, one block and one service ace. Tiffany Cash had 10 assists for the Tigers.