The Bethlehem Christian Academy Volley Knights saw their 2019 season come to an end on Friday, Oct. 18, against the defending state champion.

BCA fell 3-0 to The Heritage School of Newnan in the opening round of the GISA Class AAA state tournament on the road. The 16-team tournament was held at Heritage, and the Hawks went on to win their third consecutive state title.

The Volley Knights came into the state playoffs knowing they would have to play at the top of their game to have a chance versus the reigning state champs, coach Karen Carlyle said.

"We knew we were the underdogs, but the thing about my team is they never give up,” Carlyle said. “They knew they would have to fight, and they gave it all they had. I couldn't ask for a harder working team.

BCA battled some jitters in the first set with the Volley Knights losing 25-7. However, in the second set, the Knights took an early lead 6-3 before falling to the Volley Hawks 25-13.

Katherine Gano continued her strong offensive play for the Volley Knights and had three kills in that set. Sydney LaBollita, Rebekah Doolittle and Mikayla Torbett also recorded kills in the set.

In the third set, the Volley Hawks took an early lead on their way to a 25-11 victory.

Several BCA players registered kills, including Gano, Torbett, Makinna Starkey, Iris Hundeby and Sarah Grace Fulford.

"We left that game knowing we didn't beat ourselves,” Carlyle said. “We were just outplayed by a better team. I told my girls to hold their heads up because the scoreboard did not reflect how well they played. Statistically, we weren't supposed to even get close to Heritage. However, my team made them fight for every point. We had several really good rallies, but we just couldn't finish it off. I'm extremely proud of my girls and the tenacity they have shown the whole season.

“I have truly been blessed to be their coach.”

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