South Forsyth volleyball coach Kelly Wren saw the War Eagles meet the other undefeated team in Area 5-7A and win in three sets on Tuesday night, but that doesn't make her feel much better about South's path through the area tournament.
"There's not really any safety net here," Wren said. "The teams are all very competitive. Yeah, they worked hard to get in this position in the regular season, but our region tournament's going to be brutal, I feel."
The War Eagles indeed won all of their sets against Lambert, but it was about as close as a three-set win can be: South won the first 25-23, and then won the last two by 26-24 margins. The War Eagles went on significant runs in both of the final two sets, staking a 15-8 lead in the second and an 8-2 advantage to start the second, but the Longhorns climbed back each time.
That closeness was to be expected from two teams that entered the night with 4-0 marks against other area competition. The War Eagles had dropped just one set between those matches, and Lambert (28-8, 4-1 Area 5-7A), even with the loss of star Ally Hall to a torn ACL on Aug. 30, hadn't dropped a set at all in its three area matches in September.
"It was a close game," Wren said. "It felt like it was more than three sets."
South wasn't necessarily ecstatic with the result. Senior outside hitter Molly Bergin said she saw imperfections on the offensive and that the War Eagles (23-10, 5-0) were capable of a more convincing score overall, but South's overall talent and defense helped the team hold.
"I think we could have played better, but I think we were just a better team," said Bergin, who had 15 kills and 10 digs in the game.
And Bergin feels the same way as her coach about the area tournament, which South hosts starting next Tuesday.
"I think a lot of teams are going to come out (seeing) a target on our back," she said. "I think we still need to play at the highest level we can and (not) expect anything. The wins mean nothing."