The Griffin Christian volleyball team’s stellar season reached its peak in October with wins over Oak Mountain Academy and Heirway Christian Academy in the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) Class AA state volleyball quarterfinals and semifinals, advancing to the Class AA state finals for the first time ever.
Unfortunately for the Lady Crusaders, they fell one match short of their first GISA state title, losing the state finals in three games to the Frederica Academy Lady Knights at Augusta Prep Day School.
The Lady Crusaders lost 20-25, 18-25 and 21-25 to end their outstanding season at 28-3 overall and finish as the 2012 GISA Class AA state runners-up.
“We had a great, great season but [it] just wasn’t our day. I have to give credit to Frederica; they played very well,” said GC coach Melanie Foster at the time. “We made some mistakes that we normally don’t make and I don’t believe they made any mistakes and that won them the state title.”
GC had a terrific run to the 2012 state finals. GC swept Oak Mountain in the quarterfinals but the Lady Crusaders had to really earn it this time, winning 26-24, 25-21 and 25-12 to make it to the state Final Four. The Final Four match was even more intense for GC fans, as it took four games for the Lady Crusaders to beat Heirway Christian.
GC won the first two games against Heirway 25-12, 25-18 but GC setter Madison Bertelsbeck hurt her knee and ankle in Game 2, changing the complexion of the match. GC senior Abby Yarbrough started at setter in Game 3, but Heirway pulled out the win at 24-26.
“Abby stepped up for us when we needed her,” said coach Foster. “We lost Game 3, but she did her best.”
Bertelsbeck came back during Game 4 and the Lady Crusaders toughed out a 25-23 win to advance to the state finals. The excited Lady Crusaders bounced around in celebration.
The excitement was muted the next day, as Frederica swept through GC and won the 2012 state championship.
“We dug a hole in each game and we just couldn’t rally enough to win any of them,” coach Foster said. “But I’m proud of the girls. They fought hard all season long and showed tremendous character and resolve. We had a lot of fun this year.”
Despite the heartbreaking finish to their season, the Lady Crusaders joined the 2011-12 GC boys basketball team as the only school teams to advance to the GISA state finals in their particular sport.
Other notable stories in the month of October:
*The No. 9 state-ranked Griffin High football team played well in October, securing a spot in the Region 4-AAAA playoffs with a perfect 3-0 record in the month. The Bears won all three October games by two touchdowns or more.
*The Spalding Lady Jags softball team started October with a bang, going 3-2 in the Region 4-AAAA Tournament which included a state-playoff clinching 5-0 win over crosstown and region rival Griffin. Spalding lost its first Class AAAA state playoff game to Worth County 6-0, but dispatched Worth 12-0 and 7-0 afterwards to advance to the state Sweet 16. The run ended there as the Lady Jags lost 4-0 and 11-4 to Rutland High in Sweet 16 action.