Buford Runs It Back, Defeats Lambert For Third Consecutive State Title
On Saturday, the Georgia High School Association volleyball season came to an end as the second day of the two day event wrapped up with the 4A, 5A, 6A, and 7A championship as the Pace Academy Knights, Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans and Buford Wolves all repeated as state champions. While Pace won their sixth consecutive title as they defeated long time neighboring rival, Lovett, the Buford Wolves won their third straight title, fifth in seven years, as they defeated the Lambert Longhorns 3-2.
The all Gwinnett affair between Buford and Lambert excited the crowd down to its fifth set finish as the two traded blows. The opening set would be a close battle to the finish as both teams’ biggest lead in the set would be three points. After the Wolves took an 11-8 lead following a Payton Danley hit for the point, Lambert would outscore Buford 17-11 to take set one 25-22. However, the Wolves would respond taking back to back sets in controlling fashion, winning set two 25-18 and set three 25-15.
With their backs against the wall, the Longhorns would keep things close in set four and when trailing 20-19, an MK Patten kill that would deflect out of bounds off the Wolves would tie the set and from that point, Lambert would outscore Buford 5-3 to take the set 25-23 and force a decisive set five. The two teams would once again battle closely to the point that they would exceed the 15th point, but the Wolves would pull out the 19-17 win.
“This one is special for a lot of reasons,” Buford head coach, Christina Lecoeuvre, would say following her teams win, in particularly because of the fact that she has had the opportunity to coach a few of the Wolves’ seniors for several years. “There’s a very specific group of seniors that I’ve coached and known since sixth grade and I said to them at the beginning of the season that this is the way that it is going to end,” Lecoeuvre added. And similar to their match with Lambert on Saturday, Lecoeuvre noted that Buford’s season has also been battled tested situation, which she believed helped prepare them for Saturday.
“We’ve been in so many situations this season where it’s been back and forth, we’ve been down, and our motto has always been ‘calm and confident, one point at a time’ that’s the play and that’s what they did,” Lecoeuvre said proudly. The Buford coach would continue crediting her players for their “team effort” leading to the title win on Saturday. “Everybody stepped up at different times and that’s what makes it special to me. We were not a one man team, we’re a family,” Lecoeuvre concluded.