COVINGTON, Ga. — Replicating high levels of success each season has seemed to come standard for the Peachtree Academy Lady Panthers in recent years. They have won the state championship for four years running now and look to make it five straight in 2022.
Head coach Bobby Mitchell, who has been at the helm of all the state championship seasons, recognized that there is something different about this year’s team.
“I don’t have a lot of kids who have played volleyball,” Mitchell said. “They’re all freshmen except for two players. It’s a 100 percent new lineup, new rotation and we’re running a new offense. It’s been a complete reboot, but we’re still winning and they are surprising me.”
What is not a surprise is the youth of the Lady Panthers. It was expected to be that way after the program saw eight seniors graduate from the program — a senior class that was the backbone of the four-year state title run. Class of 2021 won the state championship their eight grade years, too.
But having graduated so many seniors a year ago hasn’t slowed the Lady Panthers down one bit.
So far this season, Peachtree Academy is 8-1 with its only loss coming against Westminster Academy on Aug. 30. The Lady Panthers have also downed programs such as Newton, Eastside, Walnut Grove and more.
Mitchell said that, even though the team is young, the past five years are still playing huge dividends for this season’s success.
“We’ve built a culture,” Mitchell said. “And they know what the kids before them did — play year round, lifting weights — and they’re slowly starting to adapt to that.”
Though Mitchell believes the signs are there for a fifth straight state title, he’s not adding any pressure on this current group. He just wants them to play the game.
“We judge our effort and take it one play at a time and whatever happens, happens,” Mitchell said. “I’m just trying to raise a bunch of young ladies in this sport and, if we win, we win.”