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Volleyball: West Forsyth defeats Forsyth Central to clinch spot in state playoffs
West Forsyth junior Annie Velduis sends a hit past South Forsyth blockers Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

West Forsyth volleyball clinched a spot in the state tournament for the first time since 2014 with a 3-1 (25-12, 25-18, 26-28, 25-13) win Tuesday at home over Forsyth Central in the first round of the Area 5-7A tournament. 

“It’s exciting,” said West senior Abbey Riggins. “It’s nice because this is my first year going to state. I’ve been on varsity for three years and this is my first time actually going. 

“I’m really proud of the team. It’s a great feeling. Hopefully, we just play our hardest and give our best. That’s all I really want is for us to have fun and try our best.” 

The match that got Riggins to her first state tournament saw West (16-25, 4-2 Area 5-7A) fall behind early in the first set until Riggins went up to serve. The Lady Wolverines rattled off four straight points, including two aces from the senior, to take a 7-4 advantage. West later scored eight straight points to put the first set out of reach. 

In fact, Central (4-29, 0-6 Area 5-7A) had early leads in each of the four sets, but West was able to go on runs as each set wore on. 

This was none more apparent than in the fourth and final set where Central seemingly had all the momentum, scoring five straight points to take a 10-7 advantage. West turned it around, however, and captured 18 of the final 21 points, including a run of 10 straight, to advance to the semifinals of the Area 5-7A tournament where they will play tomorrow at Lambert. 

“If you drop that one,” said West volleyball coach Jake Dickey about the fourth set. “It’s one set to 15, so it was great to come out and be able to raise up our game in that fourth set to close it out.” 

West junior Annie Veldhuis led the Lady Wolverines with five kills in the fourth set (13 overall), and in a game consisting of lots of scrambles and tip shots, Veldhuis was one of the few able to close out points consistently. 

“It’s so nice to have someone on the team who’s as great as Annie,” Riggins said. “All the hitters are awesome, but when I’m setting Annie, I know she’s going to get a really good hit and so it helps me to feel a lot better when she’s up there hitting those balls.”  

Central sophomore Emma Harding had eight kills, including an emphatic set point strike to win the third set, but, despite the effort, the Bulldogs’ season comes to a close.  

“They fought until the very last whistle,” said Central head coach Brian Welsch. “Which is something you can only ask for in any sport, in any situation.”