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Volleyball preview: South Forsyth at Johns Creek
Lady War Eagles face familiar foe in Elite Eight
SF KMason1 web
Karlie Mason (left), Taylor Svehla and South Forsyth volleyball face a familiar foe in Johns Creek on Saturday in the Class AAAAA Elite Eight. - photo by Micah Green

South Forsyth at Johns Creek

When, where: Saturday, 2 p.m., in Johns Creek.

Records, rankings, seedings: South is 36-19, ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAAA and the No. 5 seed; Johns Creek is 36-14, No. 5 and the No. 4 seed.

What to know: Here is arguably the most compelling match of the Elite Eight in Class AAAAAA, if only because of the teams’ familiarity with one another from playing in Area 6-AAAAAA. They’ve met three times before – once during the regular season, twice in the area tournament – and Johns Creek is 3-0 against South, though each match has been close. The Lady Gladiators won 25-20, 23-25, 25-18 on Sept. 30, 23-25, 25-18, 25-13 on Oct. 8 and 26-24, 23-25, 21-25, 25-10, 15-13 on Oct. 9 in the area championship.

Johns Creek is led by junior Mikaela Gauthreaux (325 kills, 282 digs), junior Madeline Savage (310 kills, 92 aces, 427 digs) and senior Olivia Durrence (237 kills, 64 blocks). Alisha Hinrichs leads the team with 588 assists, though Madison Harty (255) and Jessica Pia (204) are capable setters.

South reached this re-re-re-rematch thanks to a 25-18, 25-14, 25-13 victory over Rockdale County on Tuesday. Erin Yeatman had 19 digs while Savian Jordan added nine digs, Courtney Darling and Hannah Larson had 12 and 9 assists, respectively, and Amanda Nugent had nine kills while Taylor Svehla added eight kills. And so the Lady War Eagles are in the Elite Eight for the third straight season, securing their place among the upper echelon programs in the state. South, though, is eager to improve on last season’s historic Final Four appearance.

What’s next: The winner plays the North Gwinnett-Harrison winner on Wednesday.