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Volleyball: West Forsyth senior night goes as planned

On Thursday, the Forsyth Central Bulldogs volleyball team was able to win the first set against West Forsyth, 26-24. After that, the host Wolverines took command, winning the last three sets of the Region 6-7A match — 25-17, 25-12 and 25-17.

“This season’s been kind of like that," West head coach Jake Dickey said. "We’ll play one set not as strong, then wake up and get going. Central came out and put it on us in that first set. It was a wake-up call, and the girls responded."

At first, it was a back-and-forth game. Central's biggest lead was 7-3, thanks to senior Lauren Smith and junior Annalise Leitner's block attempt. But then Wolverines senior outside hitter Reece Rhoads produced a kill to bring life into the team. 

After West scored three consecutive points, the Wolverines took their first lead of the game with senior Lymaris Vasquez's hit. 

With Central leading 25-24, West proved unable to manage a dig to give Central the first set win.

Likewise, set two was a back-and-forth affair, and Vasquez was the one to get a kill to take an 11-10 lead.

After that, West's momentum began to climb. Central kept making mistakes, and the Wolverines were able to feed off of that and go on an 11-0 run. 

Sophomore outside hitter Palina Slabysh finally ended the skid by getting two kills of her own and cutting the score to 20-12. Despite this, West managed to score five more times to win the game.

In set three, West carried over that momentum and grew their to 12-4, when Shea Murray got a kill in the middle of Central's defense and the Bulldogs immediately called timeout.

As a result, Central was able to close West's gap to 13-10 to get back on track but couldn’t maintain the intensity, as the Wolverines scored 11 more points to the Bulldogs' four. 

The fourth set consisted of West demonstrating its dominance in the match, as the hosts opened with a 10-0 run.

However, Central went on a  7-0 run itself to prove the visitors won’t go down easily. Three of the points came from senior outside hitter Emma McKinney. However, she ended the run by hitting the net.

The Bulldogs were able to cut the lead to 15-12 after Vasquez hit the net.

A seven-point cushion gave the Wolverines the victory once again, as the Bulldogs couldn't maintain the energy.

With the result, West (25-15, 3-2) secured the No. 3 seed for the region tournament. The Wolverines will face sixth-seeded South Forsyth in the first round at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at Denmark.

Central (9-20, 1-4) finished fifth in the regular-season standings. The Bulldogs will meet No. 4 seed Milton for a spot in the region tourney semifinals and a berth in the Class 7A state playoffs at 5 p.m. Oct. 11 at Denmark.