If there was any sort of hangover from losing in the area tournament, you wouldn’t know it as North Forsyth made short work of Lakeside (Atlanta) with a 25-11, 25-14, 25-16 sweep in the first round of the Class 7A state tournament.
“We told our girls yesterday in practice that the regular season’s over,” North volleyball coach Kelly Cecil said. “We’re 0-0 right now just like everybody else. It’s like a new season come postseason, so we’ve kind of reset.
“Our minds are fresh, and starting out the way we did tonight is good for us mentally.”
After being upset by Lambert last Thursday in the Area 5-7A championship game, the Raiders (38-9) rebounded Wednesday with a quick 25-11 first set win over Lakeside (19-18).
The second set was a little closer, but after the Vikings cut the score to 14-9, North rattled off 11 of the next 16 with the help of five kills from senior outside hitter Maddie Bryant.
“I can always count on Logan (Taft) to give me a good set,” Bryant said. “And if it’s not a perfect set, I can just put it in a smart spot. I can see where their defenders are and all the other hitters can do the same thing.
“It’s good to know that (the other hitters) are smart on the court, and when they get a perfect set, they can just put it away.”
Lakeside fought off four match points in the third and final set, but North was able to prevail to win the set 25-16 and set up a rematch of last year’s second round matchup against North Gwinnett.
“We’re definitely going to have to come out and practice harder than we normally do because we’ve fallen short in the past to North Gwinnett,” Bryant said. “We definitely need to work harder to come out with a win next Tuesday.”
The Raiders lost to North Gwinnett 3-1 in the state tournament last year and are 0-8 against the Bulldogs, including a 2-0 loss back in August, over the last four years.
“In the previous years, there weren’t as many seniors on the team,” Bryant said. “Maybe two or three. This year we have 10. It’s a really high number, so everyone has that will to win.
“No one’s going to give 50 percent. Everyone’s going to give 110 percent the whole time.”