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Stephen Black concludes his rundown of the toughest 
slates in each class by revealing his top five in Class-A Private.
Craig Sager II debuts his 2013 volleyball rankings.


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In This Issue
State Schedules
Class A-Private
Volleyball Rankings Released
Score Poll
Best Stories From Around the State
What Class AAA power handed ELCA its only loss last season?

Today's answer can  
be found in the newsletter!

Tuesday's Answer:
Buford leadoff hitter Niki Cook stole 44 bases her junior season.  







1. Colquitt County

2. Grayson

3. Peachtree Ridge

4. Walton

5. Brookwood




1. Thomas County Central

2. Flowery Branch 

3. Gainesville

4. Clarke Central

5. ML King 


Class AAAA 


1. Monroe-Albany

2. Veterans

3. Crisp County

4. Baldwin

5. Cairo


Class AAA


1. St. Pius X

2. Swainsboro

3. Thomson

4. Jefferson County

5. Washington County


Class AA


1. Calhoun 

2. Brooks County

3. Thomasville

4. Westminster

5. Lovett


Class A-Public


1. Clinch County

2. Wilkinson County 

3. Wilcox County 

4. Charlton County 

5. Irwin County




5. Holy Innocents'

8/23    Lakeside-DeKalb
8/30    At Wesleyan
9/6      Riverwood
9/13    At George Walton
9/27    At ELCA
10/4    Mt. Vernon 
10/11  At Our Lady of Mercy
10/18  Strong Rock Christian
10/25  At Pace Academy
11/1    Landmark Christian 

4. Aquinas

8/23    East Laurens
9/6      George Walton
9/20    At Josey 
9/27    At Twiggs Co.
10/4    At Hancock Central
10/11  At Lincoln Co.
10/18  Wilkinson Co.
10/25  At Warren Co.
11/1    Georgia Military
11/8    First Presbyterian



8/23   At Washington Co.
8/30   Briarwood Christian, AL
9/6     At Clinch Co.
9/13   Hapeville
9/27   Holy Innocents'
10/11 At Mt. Vernon
10/18 Our Lady of Mercy
10/25 At Strong Rock Chr.
11/1   Pace Academy
11/8   At Landmark Chr.



2. Our Lady of Mercy


8/30    At Mt. Paran
9/6      Open
9/13    At Mt. Pisgah
9/20    Athens Academy
9/27    Pace Academy
10/4    At Landmark Chr.
10/11  Holy Innocents'
10/18  First Presbyterian Day
10/25  Mt. Vernon
11/8    At Strong Rock Chr. 

1. Pace Academy

8/30    At Whitfield Academy
9/6      Athens Academy
9/13    King's Ridge
9/20    At First Presbyterian
9/27    At Our Lady of Mercy
10/4    Strong Rock Christian
10/18  At Landmark Christian
10/25  Holy Innocents'
11/1    At ELCA
11/8    Mt. Vernon 


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

By Stephen Black

Atlanta-area teams face gauntlets 



In our last edition of the Toughest Schedules series, we break down Class A-Private. Region 5, consisting solely of metro Atlanta private schools, features three teams ranked in our preseason Class A-Private top 10. It only makes sense that the region features quite a few teams on our Class A-Private toughest schedules list.


5. Holy Innocents' - One of four teams from Region 5 on the list, the Golden Bears play three ranked teams this year as well as games against Class AA Wesleyan and Class AAAAA Riverwood. In non-region action, HIES plays No. 2 George Walton Academy and then region-rivals No. 1 ELCA and No. 5 Landmark Christian.


4. Aquinas - The Fighting Irish face four ranked teams this season in Class A, including No. 2 George Walton Academy, Public No. 1 Lincoln County, Public No. 4 Wilkinson County and No. 7 First Presbyterian.


3. ELCA - The top-ranked Chargers aren't afraid of anybody. The 2013 Class A-Private state champs play Class AAA No. 8 Washington County, Alabama powerhouse Briarwood Christian, a road trip to Clinch County, and region games versus No. 5 Landmark Christian and No. 10 Holy Innocents'. Washington County handed the Chargers their only defeat last season. 


2. Our Lady of Mercy - Coach Mike Earwood has led the Bobcats to three straight winning seasons but will have a tough row to hoe this year, as OLM plays five ranked opponents. Three of those ranked teams are from the Bobcats' region, 5-A, which is also home to top-ranked ELCA, No. 5 Landmark Christian and No. 10 Holy Innocents'. Earwood's bunch also faces No. 8 Darlington and No. 9 Athens Academy.


1. Pace Academy - The Knights face No. 5 Landmark Christian, No. 1 ELCA, No. 9 Athens Academy, No. 7 First Presbyterian and No. 10 Holy Innocents'. Pace has only been a GHSA varsity squad since 2008, according to the database at, but first-year head coach Chris Slade has a monster of a task this season with this schedule, which is the toughest in Class A-Private. 





By Craig Sager II
Raiders No. 1 after completing third straight title



In Class AAAAAA, Walton won its third state title in a row last season, and for the second consecutive time, beat out Harrison in the championship. Celeste Fitzgerald led with 47 assists last year in the finals victory as a freshman and will be a huge part of Walton's success moving forward. Senior Jessica Sloan had north of 368 kills last season.


Class AAAAA defending champion Whitewater is without Georgia Tech signees Teegan and Annika Van Gunst. The twins and senior Abby Baker (South Alabama) will be difficult to replace, but Kait Steele is one of the best setters in the state. McIntosh replaces last year's leaders, Arkansas signee Breena Jones and Ashley Young, with their senior setter Rhegan Mitchell.


Sandy Creek returns Alexis Broadwater who contributed as a freshman last season in the Patriots run to a Class AAAA title. Seniors Sydney Wilson and Tamara Dorsey star in 2013's lineup.


Class AAA No. 1 seed Blessed Trinity completed its magnificent season that saw coach Paul Stevens' Titans win 54 of 56 matches, including a streak in the area and state tournaments in which they did not lose a single set. The Titans replace Jessica Holler and Abby Feruck with Molly McAlvany and Sabrina Hansen. Junior Maggie Rick had 34 assists during the state finals last season and will be a huge part of Blessed Trinity's bid for a repeat.


In Class AA, Lovett completed its story season in 2012 by beating neighborhood rival Westminster in the finals in five sets. It was the first time in three matches the Lions had defeated the Wildcats that season. Westminster loses just two seniors from last season in Margaret Strickland and Jillian Puskas. Ayana Fennell, Ellie Hogan, Ellie Hartman and Caroline Beadles lead this season's senior class for Westminster.


Landmark Christian won its third state title last fall and first since 2003 in upsetting top-seeded Walker. Ellen Anderson and Savannah Wettstein lead the 2013 War Eagles senior class.



1. Walton

2. Harrison

3. Johns Creek

4. North Cobb

5. Mill Creek

6. South Forsyth

7. Hillgrove

8. Chattahoochee

9. Roswell

10. Woodstock



1. McIntosh

2. Whitewater

3. Lakeside-DeKalb

4. Starr's Mill

5. Pope

6. Northview

7. Northgate

8. Greenbrier

9. Harris County

10. Allatoona



1. Sandy Creek

2. Columbus

3. Southwest Whitfield

4. Marist

5. Woodland-Stockbridge

6. Veterans

7. Carrollton

8. River Ridge

9. Heritage-Catoosa

10. South Effingham



1. Blessed Trinity

2. St. Pius X

3. Woodward Academy

4. Oconee County

5. Buford

6. Sonoraville

7. Cartersville

8. Ringgold

9. Islands

10. North Murray



1. Westminster

2. Wesleyan

3. Lovett

4. GAC

5. St. Vincent's Academy

6. Westside-Augusta

7. Calhoun

8. Kendrick

9. Spencer

10. Rabun County



1. Landmark Christian

2. Walker

3. Savannah Christian

4. Hebron Christian

5. George Walton Academy

6. Savannah Country Day

7. Holy Innocents'


9. Brookstone

10. North Cobb Christian





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