Greenbrier’s seniors clutched the region trophy Saturday with a smile on every face.
The Greenbrier machine rolled its way to a trophy by beating Lakeside twice to claim the Area 3-AAAAAA championship at Grovetown High School.
The Lady Wolfpack flipped the script on the Lady Panthers after a reverse outcome in the region title match last season. Greenbrier, which again entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed, took care of business by withstanding a thrilling first match against Lakeside (2-1) to reach the championship, then swept the Lady Panthers 3-0 in the final.
“It feels amazing,” senior Sydney Blakeney said. “We’ve been working so hard for this. I’m just really excited that we managed to get these (medals).”
Greenbrier will enter the Class AAAAAA playoffs as a No. 1 seed and host in Thursday’s first round. Lakeside will enter as a No. 2 seed with a home match, while Grovetown and Evans will be on the road as the third and fourth seeds.
“We put a tough schedule this year for that reason, so we could make some noise in state,” Greenbrier coach Kevin Williams said. “They’re still hungry. Last year we made the Sweet Sixteen and now we want to go further. That’s the motivation.”
The two region tournament wins gave Greenbrier 26 victories in a row dating back to Aug. 31, but neither match was a guarantee.
Lakeside constantly put the Lady Wolfpack’s backs against the wall in the first match before Greenbrier took a thrilling 29-27 win in the third and final set.
After Lakeside beat Grovetown 2-0 to advance to the final match, the Lady Panthers exploded out of the gate with a 7-2 lead against the Lady Wolfpack. Greenbrier responded with a 10-0 run and rolled to a 25-17 first-set win.
The run deflated Lakeside and Greenbrier never trailed the rest of the way. After controlling the second set 25-18, the Lady Wolfpack started 7-0 in the third and won 25-15 to clinch.
Blakeney paced Greenbrier (43-2) with 12 kills in the championship match. Amii Ingalls added 10 kills and Emily Nettles had seven. Lexi Rugg led with 15 digs and Ingalls notched 12.
Area 3-AAAAAA Championship
GREENBRIER DEF. LAKESIDE
25-17, 25-18, 25-15
Aces: Greenbrier – Lexi Rugg 3, Emily Nettles. Kills: Greenbrier – Sydney Blakeney 12, Amii Ingalls 10, Nettles 7, Kiley Kirkland. Digs: Greenbrier – Rugg 15, Ingalls 12, Claire Ballentine 6, Jillian Lui 6, Sadie Joiner 4, Kirkland 3, Nettles. Assists: Greenbrier – Lui 28.
Next: Greenbrier and Lakeside at home in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs, Thursday.