TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Two Tallahassee high school volleyball teams are two wins away from celebrating a State Championship, but to get to next week's State Finals, they have to win Saturday's Final Four match-ups first.
The Maclay Marauders are back in the Final Four for the first time since 2011, but are looking for their first State title since 1996.
"It's a goal that a team and myself have really been wanting, I've been wanting this for a very long time," laughed head coach Erica Bunch. To get to this year's Class 4A State Championship game, they will have to get by The First Academy, a team with two Division I signees.
"They like to have fun, they want to be up, they want to be intense," she said. "You can't forget about the cheering aspect of it. The technical aspect that we've been looking at is super important too. It's not technically what we're doing, it's technically what they're doing to prepare them for that game."
The Final Four is familiar ground for Leon. The Lions were here last year, falling to Plant in a five set heart breaker to Plant. Ironically, that's the Lion's opponent Saturday in the 8A Semifinals.
"We've been focusing on this since the summer, just talking about this match, this is where we left off, this is what it felt like, just the the emotion," said head coach Angie Strickland. She said Leon re-watched last year's match for the first time on Thursday, and it's provided some extra motivation this year to come out with a win.
"It just took us back to that moment and really trying to make them understand that everything we're working for is for this moment here and to leave nothing left behind and just leave everything on the court and be relentless."
Both the 4A and 8A Semifinals take the court at 2:00 on Saturday.