A three-team battle for the area title narrowed to two after Saturday's Area 2-AAAA volleyball tournament at Greenbrier.
Greenbrier's Whitney Kizer (from left), Blaise Ramsbotham, Melissa Lewis, Mary Kate Reed and Katie Defer celebrate their win over Evans on Saturday. Greenbrier will now meet Lakeside on Thursday for the Area 2-AAAA tournament championship.
Photo by J. Scott Trubey
Greenbrier dominated the winner's bracket, while Lakeside escaped an early loss to reach the tournament finals by climbing through the loser's bracket.
The two teams will meet Thursday to decide the Area 2-AAAA tournament championship.
Meanwhile, Evans' season is over.
The Lady Knights, the tournament's No. 1 seed, fell to Greenbrier for their first loss, then were eliminated by Lakeside in the loser's bracket.
Evans finished the season with a 24-7 record, and will lose only one starting senior on their varsity squad for next season.
Greenbrier and Lakeside, now guaranteed a spot in the AAAA state playoffs, continue this season with a fight for state tournament seeding in the area tournament finals.
Greenbrier will have to play without Kelsey Sheron, a key starter in the Lady Wolfpack lineup. Sheron went down with a torn ACL two weeks ago in Greenbrier's 2-0 loss at Evans.
"She had a big impact on the team," Greenbrier sophomore setter Blaise Ramsbotham said. "We're dedicating the whole tournament to her."
Sheron's injury opened a big hole in the Greenbrier lineup, but according to Greenbrier Coach Debbie Born, the team filled the hole nicely on Saturday.
"There were concerns at first," Born said. "We had to change a lot of things in our lineup, but we made adjustments, and the girls responded well."
For Lakeside, the Lady Panthers entered area play healthy, but with an opening round loss, had to win three straight matches Saturday to reach the finals.
Four matches in one day made for several tired legs in the final game against Evans.
"I tried to rest some of the players if we had a lead," Lakeside Coach Kevin Williams said. "We're not that far ahead of the other teams that we could do that all the time."
After Lakeside's win over Evans to reach the finals, the Lady Panthers celebrated with a birthday cake. Coach Williams will celebrate his birthday Thursday.
His birthday wish? An area championship.
"Yeah, that would be the perfect birthday gift," he said.
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