Rockdale volleyball to be tested this weekend

By now, the Rockdale volleyball team is used to having a full day of tough matches, and this weekend provides another big test. Perennial state playoff participants, the Bulldogs will play in the North Cobb Playdate Saturday at Harrison High School with four matches against four other 2012 state playoff teams — two of which were state finalists — spread throughout the morning and afternoon.

Rockdale, which swept four games from Duluth and Grayson on Tuesday and played Ola and Our Lady of Mercy in matches that ended too late for this edition, begins the day with a familiar foe. Host Harrison eliminated Rockdale in three games in the second round of the Class AAAAAA tournament on its way to an appearance in the state finals, and the two teams will get reacquainted at 9 a.m. The Hoyas are off to a fast start as they’ve won eight of their first 10 matches with the only losses coming to Class AAA runner-up St. Pius and in a state title rematch with Walton.

Rockdale will get another Class AAAAAA opponent when it plays Kennesaw Mountain, which played in the first round of the playoffs, at 10 a.m.

After a long break, the Bulldogs play Allatoona at 2 p.m. The Buccaneers were eliminated by Northside-Columbus in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs in 2012.

Rockdale wraps up its pool play with a game against Columbus at 3 p.m. The Blue Devils, who were 4-3 coming into a Thursday match with Whitewater, lost to Sandy Creek in last season’s Class AAA championship match.

“It’s going to be great to get so many chances to play such great teams,” Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing said. “Harrison was state runner-up last year, and this year they are expected to be there again. Kennesaw Mountain … they are consistently ranked every year and are a mainstay in the state playoffs. Allatoona is a team we’ve never played, but they are definitely a challenge. Finally we will play Columbus, who is always a final four candidate. We want to be considered one of (the top teams in the state), so our goal this weekend is to compete in every match, and gain some top-ten wins. This will make us battle-tested, win or lose.”