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Volleyball: North Forsyth ends historic season in Final Four
North Forsyth's Nathalia Quintero, left, and Brooke Crummel, right, go up for a block Saturday during the Raiders' 3-2 loss to Alpharetta in the Class 7A Final Four. - photo by Noah Rubin

CARTERSVILLE — Not many at the beginning of the season suspected North Forsyth would be here.

A team with no seniors that had graduated their top player wasn’t supposed to reach the Class 7A Final Four.

All season long, North defied expectations and just kept going. The Raiders were one set away from making the state championship Saturday, winning two of the first three sets before dropping the last two and falling 3-2.

Head coach Kelly Christensen was proud of the way her team played in such a big match.

“I’ve been saying it all season long,” Christensen said. “They’re not scared of anybody. There’s some matches where we go in, and we wonder how they’re feeling. You don’t really know until after that first serve. Our girls are ruthless. They’re not scared of anybody. Just super proud of them coming out and playing last year’s state champion the way that they did.”

The Raiders stayed poised and played well throughout the match on the biggest stage GHSA has to offer. Brooke Crummel finished with 17 kills, and Maddie McCafferty added 13 more.

North fought to the end before coming up short in the fifth set, 15-11. That fight is what they’ve shown all season long and allowed them to make it this far.

“I feel like we accomplished a lot more than what people thought we would,” Christensen said. “You hear a lot about Kate Perryman, and we lost Kate last year, and how would we bounce back. We all knew as a team that we would be fine. Kate is an amazing player, but we knew that we had our whole unit coming back. I just feel like we accomplished a lot more than a lot of people thought and made it a lot further and pushed a really good team like Alpharetta to five. It’s a statement to our girls and the work that they put in.”

While they obviously weren’t satisfied with just making it to the Final Four, it does provide hope for next season. They made it further than any other volleyball team has in school history and will return every player next season.

“Every year, every team is different,” Christensen said. “We can’t automatically think that we’re going to be exactly the same that we were this season, but we’re looking forward to that core sophomore group of ours coming back. Girls just make a big, mature leap from sophomore to junior year, so I’m excited to see what they turn into next year. We’ll approach that once we get to that point next season.”

North ends its season with a 34-12 record, finishing as the region runner-up in the region tournament and recording the program's first Final Four appearance.