Norcross' Javonne Stanfield (10) attempts a kill as Rockdale's Jaida Allen (14) and Nazzarene Waldon (2) defend in Saturday's Area 8-AAAAAA volleyball championship match at Norcross High School.
NORCROSS -- Rockdale came into Saturday's final off a hard-fought three-game win over Shiloh, including a nail-biting loss in the second game with a score that ended in the 30s for both teams.
The Bulldogs were able to recuperate before taking on Norcross, leading late in the first and second games. But the Blue Devils' experience came through, and they beat Rockdale 25-22, 26-24, 25-16 to win Area 8-AAAAAA.
"I have some competitive girls," Norcross coach Jeff Cerneka said. "We played tight in the first game, but I'll give all the credit in the world to Rockdale County. They have some competitive kids."
Rockdale came out of the gate in the first game on a roll, scoring the first four points and building an 11-3 lead, thanks in part to a kill and block by Jaida Allen. But Norcross kept chipping away at the deficit, eventually tying the score at 21-21 on a kill by Sydney Marshall. The Blue Devils took four on the final five poitns to seal the 25-22 win for a 1-0 lead.
Game 2 started out with fairly even play, including a tied score at 5-5. Norcross made a run to build a 13-7 lead, and Rockdale responded with a huge run, including a pair of aces by Alycia Johnson, to go up 17-14.
The Bulldogs looked like they might claim the game with a 24-22 lead. But Norcross railled with the final four points, including two kills by Marshall, and won 26-24 for a 2-0 lead.
"We're a three game team," Marshall said. "We've always been like that through the entire season. The first game, we always rally. In the second, we get our head up high and we just kill them. In the third game, once we're down we just kick them."
That's exactly what the Blue Devils did in the final game. Rockdale scored the first point and then saw Norcross roll off nine straight points. Despite a rally of five straight points after that, Norcross responded with a 13-4 spurt that put the Blue Devils up 22-10. The Bulldogs notched a few points after Norcross reached match point, but a serve by Abby Bradford into the net ended the game 25-16 and gave the Blue Devils the area title.
Mashall led Norcross with 16 kills. Javonne Stanfield and Kolby Meeks each contributed five kills. Sammie Baker had eight digs and 28 assists.
Rockdale's Jaida Allen had 10 kills and seven blocks, and Majesti Bass added nine kills and 10 blocks. Natheree Lackey had 13 assists, and Savannah Bryan had three digs. Bradford's two aces in all games Saturday put her at 100 for her career.