At the end of Greenbrier’s five-game win over Northside Columbus in the second round of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state playoffs Tuesday night, the student body stormed the court.
What they had witnessed was the Lady Wolfpack salvaging their season in improbable fashion, coming back to win after dropping the first two games.
“This is the best comeback of my career,” said Debbie Born, the Lady Wolfpack’s head coach since the school opened in 1996.
The win puts the Lady Wolfpack (28-14) into the state’s round of eight for the second-consecutive season. The remaining eight teams will be re-seeded with the next round tentatively set for Saturday.
Like the entire match, the Lady Wolfpack made the fifth game hard on themselves. Up 12-8, Greenbrier let the Lady Patriots (29-13) come back to tie the game at 13. Lauren Ingalls set up DeJhana Cotton for one of her team-high 23 kills to take a 14-13 lead, then they celebrated wildly as the Lady Patriots’ last hit attempt fell harmlessly into the net.
The Lady Wolfpack got to the fifth game after breaking a 22-all Game-4 tie with Cotton and Gabbi Meyering kills sandwiching a Northside Columbus error for the win.
The Lady Wolfpack dropped the first two games 25-17, 25-20, before the teams took a 10-minute break.
After that, Greenbrier looked like a different team, rebounding for 25-14, 25-22 wins to set up the fifth and final game.
“It’s the most amazing feeling ever,” said Meyering, the Lady Wolfpack’s senior captain. “No one expected us to come this far, no one even expected us to go to state and we’re elite eight now and that’s amazing. I couldn’t be more proud.”
After the Lady Patriots’ outside hitters pounded hit attempts for kills repeatedly in the first two games, they began making errors. Born said the change was simple.
“We didn’t play well the first two games,” she said. “We didn’t challenge them. When you send easy balls over, when you get to this level, you’re going to get beat every time. That was the difference in Game 3, we challenged them every time.”