North Cobb gets the final payback, defeats Walton for GHSA 7A title
At one point during the season, the North Cobb Warriors volleyball team ran off 18 consecutive wins, however, that streak would come to an end at the hands of the Walton Raiders, the very team they faced on Saturday for the Georgia High School Association Class 7A state championship. With both teams riding win streaks heading into Saturday’s showdown, to no surprise, the opening set was a close contest down to the finish as neither team had more than a two point lead throughout the entire set.
And while the two teams battled to the finish, the Warriors would come out on top to take set one 25-23, but it set two, the Raiders would show their most dominant effort of the night jumping out to a 5-0 lead that would force North Cobb to call timeout to discuss things. Out of the timeout, Walton would continue to control the set and extending their lead to 10 points when a Lauren Butler shot would deflect off of a North Cobb player, leading to a point for the Raiders as they took a 21-11 lead. Walton would go on to take the set 25-14 and even the match 1-1.
Set three would swing momentum in favor of North Cobb, thanks to a 9-1 run that led to the Warriors wining the set 25-15. And in set four, North Cobb looked to have the hot hand early, as they took the early 3-0 lead, but the Raiders would answer back with a 4-0 run to take a 4-3 lead. But the resiliency of North Cobb had them quickly turn things, going on another run, this time outscoring Walton 7-2 to take a 10-6. A lead they would not relinquish as they would go on to take the set 25-17 and winning the match 3-1 to claim the GHSA 7A state title.
“It’s awesome,” North Cobb head coach, Stephen Sansing said after the match as he responded to being asked about the feeling of winning the program’s first state title since 2014. “The girls have worked so hard this year, just put in the time and effort in both the offseason, into the season and it’s great to see their hard work come to fruition,” Sansing added as he praised his players’ performance throughout the season. Sansing was even more happy for his seniors, including Antova, to be able to bring their high school careers to a close with the state title win.
“These seniors have been together, most of them, for four years and then came in and essentially changed the program when they came in as freshman, even at the JV level they changed it,” Sansing said of the seven Class of 2024 Warriors crediting them for be a “big part” of the Warriors program the past three seasons. “Everything that they’ve put into it, I’m so happy for them,” Sansing said. And as for Antova, the outside hitter made her presence felt throughout the match, finishing with 17 kills in the win. “She has worked on her mental toughness so much this year,” Sansing said of Antova, praising her for her ability to not allow mistakes hamper her game.
“She’s been the one that can take over a game physically and she did that for us today in those last two sets,” Sansing said.