The Apalachee and Winder-Barrow volleyball teams punched their state playoff tickets Thursday with wins in the opening round of the GHSA Area 8-AAAAAA tournament at Gainesville High School and will face each other Saturday morning.
The top-seeded Wildcats (50-2) defeated Lanier in straight sets, 25-14 and 25-11, while the second-seeded Bulldoggs knocked off Gainesville 2-0 (29-27, 25-21).
Apalachee and Winder-Barrow will face each other for a fifth time this season at 10 a.m. Saturday morning at Gainesville. The winner will advance to the championship match at noon. The loser will face the winner of the other 10 a.m. match between Gainesville and Dacula at 11 a.m.
The winner of that match would advance to the championship match and have to win twice in a row to claim the title.
The Wildcats have gone 4-0 this season against the Bulldoggs, winning in straight sets in three of those four matches. Winder-Barrow is the only Area 8 team to win a set against Apalachee in area play this year.