Chamblee’s Nikki Hawkins (9) was the 2005 Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year.
DeKalb County Schools returned to the volleyball court in the fall of 2000 after two decades of not participating. The schools had fielded both boys’ and girls’ team from the late 1960s until the sport was dropped following the 1980 season.
The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) sanctioned the state tournament in 1993, but it would not be until that 2000 season before DeKalb County would begin fielding girls’ volleyball teams once again.
Lakeside stood out early on by winning the 7-AAAAA title four consecutive seasons (2000-2003). Druid Hills won the 5-AAAA title in 2003 to 2004 by compiling a 69-19 record. The Lady Red Devils had four consecutive winning seasons from 2001 to 2004, including at the time a county best record of 41-7 in 2003.
Improvement in the play of the DeKalb County Schools is starting to show with 9 teams finishing with winning records in 2004 following 8 teams in both 2002 and 2003.
DeKalb began to make some noise in the state tournament beginning with Chamblee’s run to the Class AAAA state semifinals in 2005. Brook Kline’s Lady Bulldogs set the county record for wins with a 56-8 record that season behind the play of 2005 Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year Nikki Hawkins before falling to three-time defending state champion Woodward Academy.
Dunwoody captured the 2005 Area 5-AAA title and just missed out on a final four appearance to go with Chamblee’s sectional championship and final four appearance. Chamblee compiled a 138-56 record between 2002 and 2005 under the direction of Kline.
The 2012 and 2013 seasons would bring two more Final Four appearances to DeKalb County. Lakeside reached the Class AAAAA semis in 2012 behind the direction of Angela Thompson to become the first team since Chamblee to reach the Final Four. Lakeside fell to eventual state champ Whitewater in the semifinals as the only non-Area 4-AAAAA team left in the state tournament. The Lady Vikings finished 29-7 on the season as area champions and were one of five DeKalb teams to earn playoff berths.
Dunwoody reached three consecutive Final Fours from 2013 to 2015.
Dunwoody gave the county its first back-to-back Final Four appearances since returning to action in 2000. The Lady Wildcats, under the direction of Coach Doug Friedlander and assistant coach Nikki Hawkins (Chamblee’s 2005 Player of the Year), finished the regular season 22-23.
The post season got off to a roaring start with the Lady Wildcats bringing home the area championship during a seven match win streak to reach the Class AAAAA Final Four in 2013. Dunwoody fell to eventual state runner-up Sequoyah in the semifinals to finish 29-24 on the season.
The Lady Wildcats would extend their Final Four streak to three consecutive seasons advancing to the 2014 and 2015 Class 5A Final Fours falling in close semifinal matches both years.
Gatorade Player of the Year (2)
2005 – Nikki Hawkins, Chamblee, S/OH
2014 – Paige McKnight, Dunwoody, S/RS