By the time the Area 2-AAAAA tournament begins at Grovetown in October, chances are the season-opener between Greenbrier High School and Lakeside will be a distant memory.
But Tuesday night, the two squads expected to be among the top area squads showed why, with Greenbrier pulling out the match, 2-1.
The Lady Panthers rebounded to defeat Cross Creek, a 2014 addition to the area, 2-0 to even their record for the night and then Greenbrier finished off Cross Creek with a 2-0 win of their own.
In addition to the team getting off to an umblemished start, the wins were the first career high school wins for Lady Wolfpack coach Nicole Abbott, who took over the program heading into the summer break.
“It was fun, the girls were out there enjoying themselves,” Abbott said.
Lakeside head coach Moe McCormack was pleased with her team on the night.
“Overall we felt pretty good,” said McCormack, whose Lady Panthers are waiting for hitter Holly Sweeting to be medically cleared to play. “I think our inexperience affected us. The girls got some great experience tonight and that rivalry setting is good to get under your belt.”
The squads came out battling hard, with defense setting the tone. With the score tied at 7, Greenbrier’s Elizabeth Newby, a senior transfer from Oregon, toed the service line. The Lady Wolfpack rattled off eight consecutive points, including three kills from Clemson-commit DeJhana Cotton in the middle, to take control. They went on to the 25-12 win.
“That No. 10 (Newby), her serving really got us,” McCormack said.
In the second set, it was the Lady Panthers who reeled off four consecutive points to break a 20-20 tie and won 25-22, evening the match. Allie Adams and Abby Mash had an ace and a kill during the 4-0 run, respectively.
In the third set, the Lady Wolfpack rebounded for the 25-16 triumph and match clincher.
Up 22-16 after a Krystyna Bartocci kill, almost fittingly it was Newby’s turn to serve. Already having served during a 5-0 run early on, Newby served out the set.
McCormack and Abbott came away knowing that their teams have things to work on but weren’t upset about their teams’ effort.
“I think everyone is feeling realistically successful and I think Lakeside will feel the same way,” Abbott said. “If we’re at the same level a month from now, neither one of us will be happy.”