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Greenbrier sweeps first round of state volleyball playoffs

Posted: October 14, 2011 - 2:08pm  |  Updated: October 15, 2011 - 11:48pm
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Greenbrier celebrates after sweeping Hiram High School in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.  Jim Blaylock / Staff
Jim Blaylock / Staff
Greenbrier celebrates after sweeping Hiram High School in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.

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After a rally to win the opening game, Greenbrier High School's volleyball team faced an early deficit in Game 2 on Thursday evening.

That's when the Wolfpack turned to one of their top servers and a slew of hitters to take control against Hiram.

With Hayley Hughes pumping in serves and several Greenbrier hitters contributing kills, the Wolfpack went on a 14-0 run that effectively broke the Hornets' spirit.

It helped Greenbrier to a three-game sweep - 25-18, 25-8 and 25-7 - in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.

"I honestly don't know whenever I'm playing how many it is, but I can feel that it's a lot," the junior said of a run of serves like the one she had Thursday.

"I try to keep that out of my mind while I'm playing and just focus on each serve."

Head coach Debbie Born noted that her team provides problems for potential opponents because they cannot target one particular player to try to shut down.

"I asked my team today, ‘What do (opponents) say about us?'" Born said. "There's really not one hero on our team. Everybody that's playing is an impact player, so it's kind of tough to scout us."

In proving their coach correct, eight different players had at least one kill for the Wolfpack (27-5) against the Hornets (39-7).

"The teamwork and communication, it's incredible," Born said. "We're on fire right now."

In Game 1, Greenbrier finished strong, with a 5-0 run that featured a pair of kills by Jennifer Purucker.

The junior had five of her eight kills in the first game.

Another mid-game run, this time in Game 3, allowed the Wolfpack to breeze into the second round.

They'll play host to No. 4 Johns Creek, which swept No. 6 Sequoyah on Thursday.

Warriors' year ends

Grovetown fell in the first round of the state volleyball playoffs Wednesday against Oakwood's West Hall High School.

In the best-three-out-of-five match, the Warriors never made it to the fourth game, losing 25-12, 25-16 and 25-19 in consecutive sets. Undefeated in Region 3-AAA, the Warriors entered the playoffs as a No. 1 seed, giving them a home match for the first round.

Though a No. 4 seed, West Hall came into the match with an 8-4 Region 8-AAA record, but an overall record of 34-7. That easily outmatched Grovetown's 18-11 overall record.

In the first set, Grovetown kept pace with the Spartans until West Hall's Tonya Bennett took the serve.

Bennett put up eight consecutive points, two coming from aces, and put the set out of reach for the Warriors.

Though they performed better, Grovetown suffered a similar ordeal in the second set when Trojan Stephanie Rowland went on a 10-score tear at service, which included an ace and three kills from Bennett.

Seemingly the only thing that stopped Rowland was a self-inflicted service error into the net.

Serves and volleys improved for Grovetown in Game 3, and the Warriors managed to close the gap to 13-12 after falling early. But, again, West Hall servers overpowered the Warriors.

Knights fall to Paulding

After the first two games of Thursday's first-round state playoff match, Evans was tied at a game apiece with North Paulding. "We were still up, playing fairly well," Knights head coach Lane Schuckers said.

Paulding recovered from a Game 2 loss for a four-game victory by scores of 25-20, 26-28, 25-18 and 25-13.

"We actually took them right to the very end," Schuckers said. "About that time, we started looking a little fatigued. We weren't moving our feet, and that got to us.

"But we played outstanding as a team, as we have been all year long."

Evans finished its season with only a handful of losses; North Paulding moved its record to 46-4.

"We had a real good year, there's no doubt about that," Schuckers said. "We lost five matches all year long. We should've been a tad better, but we just didn't have that killer instinct at times."

 

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