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Lambert volleyball survives first day at area
After letting Centennial get away, Lady Longhorns rebound against North
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Savannah Oaks, left, and Kendal Barrett celebrate after a point during Lambert's match against Centennial in the Area 5-AAAAAA on Monday at South Forsyth. Lambert eventually lost to Centennial but rebounded with a win against North to stay alive in the tournament. - photo by Brian Paglia

Moving the ball past Centennial’s 6-foot-3 Paige Elliott is quite a feat, but Lambert nearly pulled the upset.

The No. 5-seed Lady Longhorns had set point twice in Game 2, but No. 4-seed Centennial answered, scoring six of the next seven points to win 27-25 after winning the first set 25-16 on Monday in the opening round of the Area 5-AAAAAA region playoffs at South Forsyth.

“We did make some adjustments, which worked in the beginning [of Game 2], but it was just those unforced errors that was tough at times that changed the game,” Lambert head coach Missey Hall said.

Savannah Oaks led the Lady Longhorns (18-22) on the afternoon with seven kills and 12 digs, while Brittyn Moellering tallied three kills and nine digs. Kendal Barrett recorded every assist on the team with 15.

Lambert defeated North Forsyth 25-22, 25-11 to advance in the loser's bracket and keep its season alive. The Lady Longhorns will face the loser Chattahoochee-Johns Creek on Wednesday at 6 p.m. with the winner securing a spot in the state playoffs.

Lambert jumped out to a 7-1 lead to start the second set that forced Centennial (36-9) to call a timeout. The stoppage proved to quell Lambert’s momentum, as the Lady Knights scored seven of the next nine points to trim the lead to 9-8.

Both teams continued to stay neck-in-neck until Lambert found its rhythm with a five-point rally to make the score 19-13, but Centennial responded. The Knights’ Elliott had two key kills, en route to a 6-1 rally to cut the Lambert lead to 20-19 and prompted Hall to use a timeout.

The Lady Longhorns scored four more points to make it 24-21, but the Lady Knights tied it up on a few unforced errors before winning 27-25.

“I think everybody kind of got it in their heads,” Oaks said. “We were so frantic in winning since it’s such a big game and it messed with our heads and it just didn’t go together well.”

Centennial was a bit more dominant in Game 1, using a 7-1 lead to pull away early. The Lady Longhorns had a difficult time scoring consecutive points and trailed 15-7 midway through the match. Lambert closed the gap to five at 16-11, but couldn’t get any closer as Centennial went on a 9-5 run to win 25-16.

“We’ve got confidence we can come back,” Oaks said. “We’ve got to finish it out possibly a little stronger and not be anxious and nervous and keep ourselves confident and fired up.”