The Greenbrier High School Lady Wolfpack showed their championship mettle in their season-opening volleyball match at Lakeside Thursday night.
Trailing 24-22 in the fourth game, the defending area champions rallied for the next four points to win 26-24, fighting off a young, talented Lady Panthers team and winning the match 3-1.
Leading 2-1 but looking like they were headed to a decisive fifth game, Lady Wolfpack junior DeJhana Cotton recorded one of her 10 kills to close the gap to 24-23. After a Lakeside hitting error tied the score, Cotton again got a set from setter Lauren Ingalls and spiked it home for a one-point lead. Another Lakeside hitting error finshed off the match.
“We started getting better passes toward the end, which let us execute our middles and our outsides better,” said Cotton, calling the match a team effort. “Luckily she (Ingalls) started getting it to me more and I was trying to feed off her.”
The first game of the match – and the season – which the Lady Wolfpack won 25-16, featured more errors than offense, but both teams seemed to find a rhythm after that. The Lady Panthers took game two 25-16 after trailing 6-1, but the Lady Wolfpack came back in dominating fashion for a 25-14 game-three victory.
“We played a lot out of system tonight,” said Lady Wolfpack head coach Debbie Born. “That means pass, set, hit right away, but we were pass, set, scurry, oh my God.”
With the first game tied at 10, Katie Anne Wood got points on three-consecutive serves, but was was subbed for by Born, replaced by Jennifer Bojescul. Bojescul, who gave the Lady Panthers problems with her serve all night, helped the Lady Wolfpack build their lead to 18-10 and they went on from there.
For the night, Bojescul led the Lady Wolfpack with five aces.
The Lady Panthers quickly trailed 6-1 in the second game, but rallied to take a 12-10 lead behind the serving of Breanna Dixon and Grace Jeffers and the hitting of Holly Sweeting, who finished with a game-high 15 kills. After the Lady Wolfpack took a 13-12 lead, the Lady Panthers rebounded once more, winning 13 of the next 16 points.
“I think we are talented,” said Lady Panthers head coach Maureen McCormack. “I think we have to find a way to show it on the floor consistently. Part of that is we’re still young.”
The Lady Wolfpack jumped out to a 10-1 game-three lead and were never in any danger en route to the 25-14 win.
“I like my team, the girls are battlers,” said McCormack. “The key with Greenbrier is they’ve been winning for so long that they have that belief system already developed. And it’s ingrained.”
Afterward, Born was complimentary of the Lady Panthers as well.
“They’re going to be very good,” said Born, calling Sweeting a great player and Alexis Dunbar a great server. “The playing field is getting more even.”