CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For George Washington's nine seniors, it was mission accomplished Saturday afternoon.
The Patriots swept past Musselman 25-21, 25-23 and 25-13 to capture the Class AAA championship at the state high school volleyball tournament. A crowd of about 600, including a healthy portion clad in GW's maroon, attended at the Civic Center.
GW (47-10-3) won its fifth title to go along with back-to-back crowns won in 1981-82 and 2005-2006. Several of the Patriots wore a black armband with a white "73'' emblazoned on it for freshman Drew Morton, a GW football player who was killed in a car accident earlier during the school year.
GW's senior class lost in the opening round of states as sophomores then fell in the semifinals last year before Saturday's triumph.
The Patriots dispatched defending state champion Spring Valley in Friday's semifinals after the Timberwolves had beaten them in last year's semifinals.
Musselman won the Queen of the Hill regular-season tournament at GW the past two years.
"We came together perfectly,'' said GW 6-foot-3 senior Hannah Shreve, who has committed to West Virginia University. "We've been on a long journey the past four years and we just wanted it this year really bad.
"We had a talk before the game that we were going to come together and just do our job. It feels great to play the last game and feel great about it.''
Patriots coach Missy Smith, who has been at the helm of the last three championships, also received the National Federation Coaches Association Active Award after her team's victory. The award recognizes coaches for their dedication, commitment to excellence and promotion of the ideas of interscholastic athletics.
"They picked the best day to play their best game,'' said Smith of her players. "We didn't play as well in the first two rounds of states, but today they would not be denied.
"Just heart and guts. I can't speak enough about this group and how much they have of that. I can't coach that. I can't teach them that. That's what they bring to the table. They brought a lot of it today.''
GW took an 18-14 lead in the opening game and never gave up the lead in taking it 25-21 on junior Tori Strong's kill.
The second game was tighter as the Applemen tied it at 23-all on a rare unforced Patriots' error off a bad set. GW, though, won the last two points on back-to-back kills from Shreve and senior Lexi Mourier for a 25-23 win.