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Volleyball: Five players to watch for in 2018
Lambert's Ally Hall hits the ball against West Forsyth on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

A strong Forsyth County presence in the GHSA volleyball playoffs certainly isn’t anything new. But last season was even more crowded than usual, with the rise of North Forsyth, led by All-FCN Player of the Year Maddie Bryant.

Lambert and South Forsyth joined the Raiders in the state quarterfinals last year, and a survey of returning talent in the county makes a repeat of that look entirely possible. The Longhorns reload with the help of two talented underclassmen, and North has talent to adjust to Bryant’s departure. And even with the opening of Denmark thinning out the ranks, the cupboard certainly isn’t bare for the War Eagles.

Here are five players who could contend for the next edition of All-FCN Player of the Year.

Ally Hall, Lambert, Jr.

Hall has been a first team All-County player for both of her years at Lambert, and the prospect of her continuing to improve as a junior is a scary one for county opponents. The Middle Tennessee State commit is one of the most versatile players in the area, as close to a positionless player as exists in the county.

She led the Longhorns with 457 kills and was second with a .385 hitting percentage last season, but Hall was also one of Lambert’s most productive defensive players, leading the team with 252 digs, and was second on the Longhorns with 535 assists. The Longhorns are losing a group of impactful seniors, including William & Mary signee Madeleine Bertz, but the presence of Hall bodes well for the team’s chances of getting back to the state quarterfinals or making an even deeper run.

Bella Tolone, Lambert, So.

Tolone followed in Hall’s footsteps in serving as an impactful freshman for Lambert, and while her game is a bit more specialized, it’s plenty important for the Longhorns. She was the Longhorns’ serving specialist last year, taking more of them – 494 – than any other player and landing 18.2 percent for aces. Tolone was plenty effective in other areas, as evidenced by her 242 kills and .288 hitting percentage, but her ability to influence the game so strongly in one area makes her especially intriguing.

North Forsyth volleyball players celebrate after a point against Lambert on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. - photo by Lily McGregor Photography
Mary Ellen Enright, North Forsyth, Sr.

Searching for a perfect replacement for Maddie Bryant and her 735 kills will probably be a fool’s errand for North. If Enright progresses apace, though, she might not be far off. The ourside hitter, often swinging from the opposite side as Bryant, was third in Area 5-7A with 450 kills last year. That number came on more than 400 fewer attack attempts than Bryant, so Enright’s production could jump as she becomes a bigger focus of the Raiders’ attack. She’s also a skilled defensive player, with her total of 451 digs being the second-best total on the Raiders, behind libero Marin Black.

Kate Perryman, North Forsyth, So.

As a freshman, Perryman was the key defender up front for the Raiders, and she led the region with 101 blocks. Coaches at North – both volleyball head coaching duo Drew and Kelly Cecil and Eric Herrick, who coached Perryman on the Raiders’ basketball team – rave about Perryman’s athleticism and potential, and there’s plenty to dream on, given that she has three years left to grow. If she makes solid progress in her offensive game, Perryman could become one of the most dangerous players in the county.

Nyah Pacely, South Forsyth, Jr.

Last year’s War Eagles squad had to confront the loss of multiple important seniors, including 2016 All-County Player of the Year Amanda Nugent, but despite an area record that put them clearly behind North and Lambert, South made another postseason run and reached the state quarterfinals. While the departure of players like Hannah McGlockton and Avery Kline – as well as the opening of Denmark – leaves more holes to fill for the War Eagles, they do return Pacely, who had the second-most assists in the area last year. The All-FCN second team honoree should form a solid duo with outside hitter Molly Bergin, who earned that same recognition last fall.