Before the season started Rockdale volleyball coach Stephen Sansing told his players they had a chance to do things Rockdale has never done before.
On Saturday the Bulldogs achieved one of those unprecedented goals and won their second straight Region 8-AAAA championship.
"This was a totally new group (from last year), so to be able to go and still go through and win the region it's really nice," Sansing said. "It's a testament to the girls putting the work in and being prepared.
"We had several seniors who hadn't played a whole lot of varsity before this year and they stepped up."
Rockdale will play at home against Northgate, the No. 4 team, from Region 3-AAAA in the first round at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Rockdale started the day out Saturday with a 25-18, 25-18 win over Apalachee. The win put the Bulldogs (36-11, 11-1 Region 8-AAAA) in the state playoffs, but there was still more to come. Rockdale then earned a home playoff game with a 25-21, 25-14 win over Clarke Central in the semifinals, before meeting the Wildcats for the second time in the double-elimination tournament.
Rockdale continued its winning ways in the first game, with a 25-23 victory, before falling 20-25 in the second. The Bulldogs then won the third 25-21 and had to pick up one more victory in the best-of-five format for the championship. They were able to complete the victory with a 25-17 win in the fourth set.
Kendra Lackey led the way for the Bulldogs with 21 kills, Alycia Johnson added 14 and Abby Bradford 11. Dishing out all those kills was Libby Bradford, who had 39 assists. Jada Allen tallied five blocks and Alex Adams had three service aces for Rockdale.
"It was a good match, and we really had to push through," Sansing said. "Appalachee gave us some fits but we stuck together and stayed with the game plan and beat them."
The Bulldogs will be joined in the state playoffs by cross-town rival Heritage, who will be on the road in the first round against Whitewater.
The Patriots defeated Flowery Branch 2-0 in the quarterfinals on Saturday to reach the playoffs. They then lost to Apalachee 2-1 in the third/fourth place game.