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Greater Atlanta Christian School
Kristy Shelton
1575 Indian Trail
Norcross, Georgia
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Thursday, September 16
GAC vb in the AJC
Like its unoffical mascot, GAC moves, plays as one

For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 09/15/04

1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . Amoeba!
It's not your typical cheer, but this season it has been the rallying cry of Greater Atlanta Christian's volleyball team.
The amoeba represents the way the team performs on the court.
"It's like moving as one on the court and being one team," said junior setter Christie Howard, who introduced the term to the team. "In order for an amoeba to work, it has to work as one."
The single-cell organism also represents how close GAC has become off the court as well.
"I've been thrilled at the way the team has come together," coach Kristy Shelton said. "Spiritually, we are very strong. When they aren't playing volleyball, they are playing something else. We're having so much fun together, and that's what I love about this team. They have great personalities and love to be together."
It's just one of many surprising things about the 13-4 Spartans, who are state-ranked for the first time (seventh in Class A/AA). This from a team that lost seven of nine players to graduation and was supposed to be rebuilding.
Shelton professes to be an eternal optimist, but even she had a few doubts about the team entering the season.
"This is the first time I worried a little bit after losing seven players," she said. "The only thing I worried about was having enough girls. We're actually still a little bit short with eight players on the team now."
The team is composed of four sophomores, two juniors and two seniors. The returning players are Katie Agin and Dana Chason.
Agin, the team's leading setter last year, moved to the front line to utilize her 6-foot-2 height and newfound hitting stroke. She leads the team in kills (102) and blocks (39). Agin has been pleasantly surprised with the team's performance.
"We knew we had good girls because the JV was good last year," she said. "But the experience level and the pace of the game is different on varsity. They've stepped up really well."
Howard has certainly stepped up in the role of setter. At first, she didn't even expect to play. Now Howard plays nearly every minute of every game and leads the team in assists (147) and aces (56).
"I knew she had the capability to be a good setter, but she didn't play club ball," Shelton said. "She has impressed me a lot, and her serving is incredible. She is really able to run the offense."
The Spartans' confidence soared when they defeated Class AAAAA top-10 team Collins Hill on Aug. 24. Then, Shelton started posting the rankings on the bulletin board as the team climbed from 11th to ninth to seventh. While it is exciting, she is aware of what that can do to the squad.
"I don't want that to put pressure on them because these are such young girls," she said.
But the goal, as it has been the past four years under Shelton, is to get to the state tournament for the first time. With top-ranked Wesleyan in Area 7-A/AA, that may leave only one slot available.
"The goal every year is to get to the state tournament," she said. "I know it is going to be a lot of work because we haven't gotten out of our region yet.
"That just blows my mind in a way, to think that I would be doing that with this team."

Greater Atlanta Christian School Volleyball
Greater Atlanta Christian School Volleyball
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