The Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack have become accustomed to being the tallest volleyball team on the court this year, but such was not the case when they faced North Springs in the first round of the Class AAAAA state volleyball playoffs on Thursday night.
The Lady Spartans, Area 7’s No. 5 seed brought three 6-footers with them. The Lady Spartans’ size gave the Lady Wolfpack, Area 2’s No. 1 seed, trouble at times, but Greenbrier still came away with the straight-sets victory, 25-19, 25-21 and 29-27.
The Lady Wolfpack (37-1) will play host to the Dunwoody-Hiram winner in the second round Tuesday.
From the beginning it didn’t feel like a No. 1 playing a No. 5 on Thursday.
“Probably two or three of their (area) teams are in the top 10 in Georgia, so it was a battle,” said Greenbrier head coach Debbie Born, whose team is ranked third in AAAAA.
Tied at 10 in the first set, the Lady Wolfpack reeled off five consecutive points behind the serving of Jennifer Orial and went on to win.
Five players finished with two aces apiece for the match for the Lady Wolfpack.
The Lady Spartans (16-12) adjusted to the serving in the second set and Greenbrier’s DeJhana Cotton, the Area 2-AAAAA Player of the Year was struggling at the net, getting shots blocked. Born called time out down 10-6, and made adjustments.
“When you’re playing against girls who are 6-foot-2, you’re going to get blocked every time,” Born said. “You pass a little bit off the net, you set a little bit off the net so then you can maneuver around the block and then you’ll be successful. This is the best team I’ve had when it comes to making in-game changes.”
Cotton had three kills in the set from that point on and finished with 11 for the match, one behind team leader Jen Purucker’s 12. Setter Hayley Hughes finished with 38 assists.
The Lady Wolfpack played from behind for most of the third set and were down 23-19 before Cotton recorded three-consecutive kills to bring them within 23-22. The Lady Spartans went back up 24-22, but Greenbrier came back once more to tie it at 24 and it went back and forth until a Gabbi Meyering kill and subsequent ace ended the game at 29-27.
“It was good to end it after we’d been battling for so long,” Meyering said.