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Greenbrier advances to volleyball's Elite 8

Posted: October 23, 2012 - 9:02pm  |  Updated: October 28, 2012 - 12:05am
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Jim Blaylock/staff  Greenbrier's Sarah Sather goes down for a dig to keep the ball in play as teammate Jen Purucker moves in.
Jim Blaylock/staff Greenbrier's Sarah Sather goes down for a dig to keep the ball in play as teammate Jen Purucker moves in.

Despite a 37-1 record heading into the second round of the Class AAAAA State Volleyball Tournament against the Hiram Lady Hornets, the Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack faced some adversity along the way.

And with a single exception, the Lady Wolfpack found a way to overcome it. Tuesday night the team didn’t have its best match of the season, but still swept Hiram, 25-18, 25-23, 25-13, advancing to the Elite 8 of the state tournament.

“We knew it was coming, one of those days where whatever you do it’s just not golden, fight through it, just keep playing,” said Lady Wolfpack coach Debbie Born.

Greenbrier played Saturday and with a win will advance to the Final Four at McIntosh High School on Wednesday.

The team battled through nagging injuries to some starters and they were about 15 points lower in their serve percentage for the match, but still took the first game 25-18.

In game two, the Lady Wolfpack trailed 8-7 early, struggled to regain the lead and were down, at one point, 23-19.

Following a Lady Hornets’ error, cutting the lead to 23-20, frontline player DeJhana Cotton rotated to the serve and brought the team to within two with a clutch ace. Another Lady Hornets error allowed Born to substitute senior libero Sarah Sather for Cotton, trailing by one.

Gabbi Meyering’s block tied the game and another hitting error gave the Lady Wolfpack the lead. Senior setter Hayley Hughes ended it by crossing up the Lady Hornets for the winning point.

“They know that when we need somebody to pick it up, somebody just steps up and gets it done,” Born said. “And it doesn’t matter who it is. Today it was DeJhana (Cotton). The other day it was Gabbi (Meyering). We’re not a one-player team. We’re whoever’s on the floor. That’s why we’re successful right now.”

After losing the late lead, the Lady Hornets came out flat in the final game and the Lady Wolfpack quickly went up 14-4, cruising to the win.

Jen Purucker had a solid all-around game for the Lady Wolfpack. She led the team with nine kills, had six digs, blocked two shots, recorded an ace and had a rare assist. Hayley Hughes, the team’s setter, had 27 assists.

Sather played tough defense with eight digs and helped get the ball to Hughes for her assists, a job she takes pride in.

“You have to be a team player to be a libero,” Sather said. “I have fun being able to set the ball up for my setter to get an assist.”

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