Sandy Creek capped off a dominant season with another state volleyball championship.
In the Class 3A title game, the Patriots beat Oconee County in straight sets (25-23, 28-26, 26-24), continuing a remarkable run that saw them win every set in the playoffs.
The champion Patriots are Ta’Zariah McCoy, Jada Caruthers, Lailah Gibbons, Nina Atkins, Grace Barbour, Skye Graham, Aubrey Wilson, Ariyana Johnson, Asia Harvey, Kaylee Snyder, Logan Hazlett, Zayonna Thompson, and Sarai Stephens.
They are coached by Tishay Lewis.
“What makes this team special is their determination. They were determined to be successful this season,” said Lewis. “They had the heart, athleticism, and skill but lacked what some would consider the most important part and that was mental toughness. They bought into my way of thinking and preparing and showed what can happen when one team has one goal.”
Lewis remembered a coach telling her the team was too emotional to win a championship and realizing they were right.
“Oconee is a great team and was not an easy team to beat. Beating them took a lot of mental toughness,” Lewis said. “I felt that we had the physical toughness and athleticism to compete with anyone in the state, but our mental toughness was not where it needed to be. Beating Oconee required that we not be emotional and continue to be mentally strong.”
The championship match was a hard-fought battle throughout, but the Patriots fended off the Warriors in each set to seal up the victory.
Harvey led the attack with 17 kills, and Graham followed with 10. Wilson and Johnson posted 8 apiece. Atkins posted 4 aces, and Hazlett and Graham each added 3. Wilson led with 6 blocks, Johnson tallied 3, and Caruthers and Graham each added 2. Harvey posted 17 digs, and Graham had 10. Atkins racked up 38 assists.
The win is the fourth championship in team history and the first since 2012. The Patriots finish the year 39-10 overall.