Lakeside volleyball players were not sure where to look next after winning their opening round Class AAAA playoff match.
The victory, a 3-0 sweep of North Springs at home in the best-of-five format, had been the girls' goal since the beginning of the season. The Panthers wanted only to improve on the prior season, when they had been eliminated in the first round.
"Coach (Hannah) Punch always tells us, 'Better than last year," senior Leslie Rhoades said. "I don't remember the last time we got past the first round of state."
The Panthers' run began with a Region 3-AAAA championship, a goal Lakeside's current crop of seniors accomplished for the first time.
"We've been so close to winning region, at least the three years we'd been here," said senior Halie Brinkman. "This year we really wanted to make sure we did it."
The Panthers' victory was never in doubt. They won with scores of 25-19, 25-14 and 25-13. The last lead North Springs held was 5-4 early in Game 2.
On the other side of the county, Greenbrier's Class AAAAA playoff run began with more drama.
The Wolfpack came from behind to beat South Forsyth in five games, the fifth a thrilling 17-15 victory.
Senior Jordan Welch won it for the Wolfpack with her eighth ace of the match, and the large contingent of Wolfpack supporters flooded the court.
"I knew I had to be aggressive," said Welch, whose eight aces in 25 serves led the team. "I knew fluffing it over wasn't going to do it."
Greenbrier was coming off of its third consecutive region title, and second since moving up to Class AAAAA. South Forsyth, a No. 4 seed, proved a tough test.
After the Wolfpack took Game 1, the War Eagles won the next two, including a 25-23 win in Game 2.
But Greenbrier evened the match by taking the fourth game and survived the deciding game after being down match point.
"I'm telling you, these girls have been through every experience possible," Greenbrier coach Debbie Born said. "Coming back, down so many games and what not. They know no panic."
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