The Lady Chiefs won 25-19, 25-16, 25-14 and will face top-seeded McIntosh for the state championship Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Marietta High School.
It marks the first time Sequoyah has reached the state finals since 2004, when it lost a five-setter to Starr’s Mill.
Sequoyah coach John Edwards, who was an assistant to former Lady Chiefs coach Kelly Audia on that ’04 team, was nearly at a loss for words after Wednesday’s match.
“It’s big,” he said. “This is big.”
Sequoyah (40-4) trailed by as much as 12-7 in the first set before rallying. Behind the serving of Kali Jones, the Lady Chiefs soon found themselves up 23-18. The teams traded points before Kyli Schmitt recorded a kill to seal the win 25-19.
Edwards said the sluggish start wasn’t typical of his team, which usually comes out hot, but he was happy to see that the players didn’t let the match slip away.
“A lot of times, we come out strong,” Edwards said. “Ever since mid-September, we have come out flat a few times, but we just start figuring things out. The girls don’t get flustered. We play the same when we are down as when we are up for the most part. It’s a credit to them, the way they keep playing and play themselves out of it.”
The next two sets were a different story as Sequoyah jumped to leads of 9-1 and 10-3 before allowing Dunwoody (29-23) to creep back into both games.
In the second set, Dunwoody made its surge when the Lady Chiefs led 17-5. A couple of kills, a block and a pair of miscues by Sequoyah allowed the Lady Wildcats to close the gap to 17-11.
Dunwoody got as close as 20-14 when Sequoyah missed a serve, but with Logan Page serving for the Lady Chiefs, the set ended quickly.
In the third set, Sequoyah held a 5-1 lead when Dunwoody called a timeout, which worked in its favor and helped change the momentum briefly. The Lady Wildcats rallied to 10-8 before Sequoyah once again pulled way behind the serving of Jones. Kayla Morris also served for several points, while kills by Kelley Hartman and Lauren Hartman put the match away.
Jones finished the day with eight kills, seven aces and five digs. Lauren Hartman led the team with nine kills, while adding 2½ blocks. Lane Lauletta added five kills, while Morris and Jensyn Wells each had five digs. Page had a team-high 20 assists, while chipping in four aces and six digs.
With just one day to practice before the finals, Edwards said he won’t be changing much. Rather, it will be a chance to get on the court and make sure they are at the top of their game for McIntosh (41-6), the only team seeded higher than Sequoyah among the final eight.
“There isn’t a lot we can change,” he said. “It’s really about just making sure we are ready to play how we play.”