After losing nine-consecutive matches from Sept. 5-12, the Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack volleyball team is hitting their stride.
Since that point, a stretch where junior hitter DeJhana Cotton was sidelined with an injury, the Lady Wolfpack (17-13) have won eight of 10 matches. Wednesday night they swept their home tri-match, beating Clarke Central 25-21, 25-13, before being pushed to the limit, beating North Augusta in three games.
“It’s a little redemption time because we lost to both of these teams earlier in the season,” said Lady Wolfpack head coach Debbie Born. “It’s the last time we’ll see them this year and it was in our gym, so it was nice.”
Even while losing those nine in a row with Cotton out, Born said her team was stronger for it.
“We got better even when she was sitting because the other kids had to step up,” Born said.
It was a definite team effort with Born receiving contributions across her lineup. Perhaps the most impressive was the way they kept pressure on Clarke Central in their first game as they committed just one service error.
Foreshadowing their final game against North Augusta, the Lady Wolfpack trailed 3-0 in game two against the Lady Gladiators (19-11) before rolling by them with four different players recording kills. Cotton and lone senior Gabbi Meyering recorded five kills apiece while Sarah White added four and setter Lauren Ingalls had 12 assists.
North Augusta was the better team at the net in game one of the best-of-three match and won going away, 25-19.
The Lady Wolfpack flipped the script on the Lady Yellow Jackets in game two, led by Meyering and Cotton, who each had four kills. Cotton added two blocks.
Up 4-2 in game two, the Lady Wolfpack started to pull away with their net play. On a 4-1 run to go up 8-3, Cotton had a kill and two blocks while Krystyna Bartocci added another block. They built the lead to 15-4, the last three points coming on two Meyering kills and a Katie Anne Wood block. They went on to the 25-14 win.
With four kills and an ace, the Lady Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 7-2 game-three lead. Having faced adversity before, the Lady Wolfpack weren’t worried.
“We weren’t really nervous because I think that we knew we could stick together and pull it out,” said Wood.
After a North Augusta hitting error made the deficit 7-3, Cotton stepped to the service line and it was curtains for the Lady Yellow Jackets. She served two aces and had six service winners as the Lady Wolfpack ripped off 12 of their 13-consecutive points to take control.
“I try to make sure I get the first one in at least and if I get on a roll I just go with it,” said Cotton, who focused on improving her serving over the summer. “I just have to be smart where I place it on the court.”
With the Lady Yellow Jackets’ powerful hitters resorting to dinks at the net for the most part, the Lady Wolfpack won points with ease at the net. Leading 24-10, the Lady Wolfpack saw North Augusta score five points before Ingalls set up Cotton for one final kill.