CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Coach Missy Smith and George Washington got a good look at an epic match preceding their championship match as Capital outlasted South Charleston in four long sets in the Class AAA Region 3 Section 1 volleyball tournament.
The Patriots had no intentions of letting things get that interesting.
GW sailed past Cougars 25-14, 25-8, 25-12 to claim the sectional championship Thursday night at Capital.
Both teams will move to the Region 3 co-finals at 2 p.m. Saturday at Woodrow Wilson where Capital will play the Section 2 champion and GW will play the Section 2 runner-up.
The winners of those matches will advance to the state tournament, but only one team was left holding hardware on Thursday.
"I like getting plaques," Smith said. "Plaques and trophies, I like it."
The Patriots (42-10-3) got formally acquainted with the Cougars Wednesday night as Capital pushed GW to four sets. Smith said the combination of Wednesday's tough test and watching a long match was enough to motivate her troops.
"Capital played us tough [Wednesday] night and took us to four," Smith said. "We talked about it after the match and today. Whoever won [in the semifinals], we were coming out and handling business and taking them in three, and luckily we did."
George Washington is led by a group of nine seniors, a core of girls of whom Smith was talking highly when they were sophomores two years ago.
Now, that group has matured and is looking very capable of delivering the school's first volleyball state championship since the Patriots won back-to-back crowns in 2005 and 2006.