Last season, Forsyth Central volleyball’s season came achingly close to the program’s first state playoff appearance since 2008 before a close late-night, empty-gym loss to Creekview in the Area 7-AAAAA tournament brought it to an end. That loss was painful, but it suggested good things for 2015 as most of the Lady Bulldogs team was expected to return.
Instead of building off a 19-win season, Central has struggled with consistency as it went 13-18 overall going into this season’s area tournament that begins Tuesday at River Ridge.
Still, the Lady Bulldogs have the core of the team that almost reached the state playoffs last season in Emma Gore, Julia Jasion, Amber Walsh and Sarah Whittington. Plus, Area 7-AAAAA has five state playoff berths instead of the standard four.
Here’s a quick glance at how teams stack up going into the Area 7-AAAAA tournament:
Favorites: Cambridge, Sequoyah. Cambridge (20-8) has been ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA virtually all season and has played a first-class schedule, including two matches against Forsyth County power South Forsyth (both losses). But Sequoyah (15-11) is the defending Class AAAAA state champion and defeated Cambridge 2-0 in the teams’ only meeting during the regular season. Expect an entertaining Cambridge-Sequoyah area finals match.
Contenders: River Ridge, Riverwood. River Ridge is ranked No. 10 in Class AAAAA by MaxPreps, and Riverwood is in the top 20 despite its below .500 record (14-16).
Sleepers: Creekview, Forsyth Central, North Atlanta, Sprayberry, Woodland-Cartersville. If the Lady Bulldogs want to reach the state playoffs, they’ll probably have to go through Creekview – again – who defeated Central in its season-ending match a year ago and then twice, 3-1 and 2-0, during the regular season. But there’s plenty of competition in this tier of teams. Central lost to North Atlanta and Sprayberry this past Tuesday, though the Lady Bulldogs were missing two players during the fall break.
Others: Cass, Dalton, Kell, North Springs. Central hasn’t played Cass or Dalton this season, but the two teams are a combined 0-47. Central defeated Kell in their only meeting, while the Lady Bulldogs took two of three from North Springs.
First game: Tuesday, 5 p.m., vs. Woodland-Cartersville at River Ridge.