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Volleyball: North Forsyth falls at North Gwinnett in state playoffs
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SUWANEE – North Forsyth volleyball’s season came to an end Tuesday night in the second round of the Class 7A state playoffs as North Gwinnett proved to be too much in a 25-14, 21-25, 25-12, 25-13 loss for the Lady Raiders on the road.

North’s offense finished the night with Maddie Bryant and Bri Gilbert tied with 10 kills apiece, while Marin Black finished with 16 digs.

“I knew the hitters were gonna be tall,” Bryant said. “I knew I had to be smart with it.”

North (35-17) entered Tuesday night’s second round match with a large task at hand in shutting down the North Gwinnett offense, while the Lady Bulldogs (41-7) looked to get off to a much quicker start after escaping with a five-set win over Woodstock in the first round.

The first set looked to be yet another slow start for North Gwinnett after North went up 9-5, but a furious 16-5 run by the Lady Bulldogs catapulted North Gwinnett as they took the first set 25-14.

“They [North Gwinnett] were lights out on the net,” North head coaches Kelly and Drew Cecil said. “It was hard for us to get our offense going.”

With the crowd seemingly getting louder as the match progressed it was crucial for North to respond in the second set, and they did just that.

North Gwinnett controlled the tempo of the second set going up by as much as four, but the Lady Raiders went on a 7-2 run to take an 18-16 lead heading into an official timeout.

Out of the timeout the Lady Bulldogs looked to get back into the set, but a huge momentum swinging block, and an offensive surge by North allowed the Lady Raiders to steal the second set 25-21.

The third set had the makings to be the best of the night. North Gwinnett had other plans.

North Gwinnett took an 18-9 lead into an official timeout behind timely blocks and near perfect kills. The Lady Raider’s attempted to find something offensively heading into the fourth set, but the Lady Bulldogs slammed the door taking the set 25-12. 

North’s season was in danger heading into the fourth set as they trailed 2-1 with the crowd at its loudest and the Lady Bulldogs clicking on all cylinders. North Gwinnett took a commanding 8-2 lead heading into an official timeout.

Out of the timeout, North looked to find something with their season hanging in the balance, but North Gwinnett had an answer for everything the Lady Raiders threw at them winning the fourth set 25-13.

“One game does not define us,” Kelly Cecil said. “Our girls worked really hard this season and opened a lot of eyes to gain respect for North Forsyth volleyball.”