The Georgia High School Association is making significant changes in its volleyball landscape starting in the 2018 season.
Beginning next fall, GHSA volleyball will be regionalized for Classes 4A-7A. According to the GHSA Constitution and Bylaws, each sport can be regionalized by classification when at least 50 percent of schools in a particular region participate in said sport. Classes 4A-7A meet the criteria for being regionalized in volleyball.
Classes 1A-3A, which do not meet the criteria, will continue to use area configurations. Class 3A will have eight areas, but the areas for Classes 1A and 2A will be reshuffled and will utilize a public/private split for the first time.
There will be eight areas for both the public side and private side.
The only school the Catoosa/Walker County area to be affected by the change is Gordon Lee, who competed in the combined Class 1A the past two seasons after two seasons of competing in a combined Class 2A classification.
Gordon Lee will compete in Area 7, which will also include 2017 Class 2A state semifinalist Chattooga, along with Dade County, Gordon Central and Morris Innovative.
Lady Trojans’ coach Tricia Goodwin said she was thrilled by the news.
“This change is long overdue and I am so excited for the players and for Gordon Lee,” she said. “This will be the first time that we feel like we have a real shot at making it deep into the state playoffs.”
In each of the previous two seasons, Gordon Lee has lost to Landmark Christian in the state tournament. In 2016, they lost in the second round and they were knocked out in the opening round this last season.
Prior to that, while in Class 2A, the Lady Trojans were eliminated in the Elite Eight by Wesleyan two straight seasons.
In other volleyball changes for next year, the first date for competition will be Aug. 10, 2018, while the season end date will be extended to Oct. 13, 2018.
The playoff structure will also change from its current format. First and second-round matches will be played on Saturday, Oct. 20 with the No. 1 seed hosting three matches.
Matches will be played at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
The third round will be played Oct. 24 at the higher seeded team’s site and the fourth round will be played Oct. 30 at the higher seeded teams’ sites.
The state finals will be held on Nov. 3.