South Forsyth promptly cleaned up a litany of errors and returned to its stellar form, taking down Mountain View 3-1 on Tuesday evening to advance to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs for the fifth consecutive season under head coach Kelly Wren.
South (33-18) took down the Lady Bears (26-18) 25-14, 25-8 and 25-8 in Sets 2, 3 and 4 after waiting too long to seize momentum in the opening set, where they fell behind 11-6 at the first timeout—many of Mountain View’s points at that juncture were gifts from the opposing side.
“We had 20 unforced errors in the first set,” Wren said. “I would say we had a hard time getting into a rhythm. There was no particular reason. It was nothing different. We have actually focused a lot on minimizing unforced errors.”
That they did, as the Lady War Eagles confidently went on the attack the rest of the way. Veteran outside-hitter Amanda Nugent led the way with 19 kills—eight of which came in the final set— and two blocks while junior middle-blocker Avery Kline earned post-match praise from Wren after her 10 kills (five in Set 2) and a block.
“(Avery) has always been a big playmaker. She’s always very smart on the court. This season she’s starting to really showcase that, getting more sets, handling net play really well and making strategic shots. Plus she has a great personality and is a huge rallying point for us.”
Lily Kincaid chipped in six kills, while Shea McNamara—still coming back into a groove after missing the majority of the year with an injury—registered four kills and a block. Libero Erin Yeatman had five aces to lead the team from the serving corner, while Savian Jordan notched three aces of her own.
A positive from dropping the first set came at intermission, where South had to reload with the match tied 1-1. Wren knows that from the quarterfinals onward her team will have to get used to those breaks between sets.
“I don’t mind going to four sets. I think it was badly needed,” Wren said. “I wanted that break because they are going to have to deal with that moving forward.”
South’s biggest obstacle in the match was Mountain View’s outside hitter Amanda Hopkins. The senior used dominant power to record eight kills, but many more loud shots were volleyed back by South’s opportunistic defense. South also managed to completely limit Mountain View’s other attackers—Hopkins was the only Lady Bear to record a kill in Set 3—and overcame trouble with the Mountain View’s surprisingly dangerous net blockers who rejected numerous shots from Kincaid and McNamara at the start of the match.
South now will face either Etowah at home or Newnan home or away, pending a coin flip, in the quarterfinal round. The date and opponent will be known Wednesday morning, so return to the Forsyth County News for details.