West Forsyth flexed its muscle by going 2-0 overall Wednesday night against North Forsyth and Forsyth Central at a tri-match at Central.
The Lady Wolverines looked like they would fall victim to a red-hot North team, much like Central did in the opening match, but used a 25-19 win in Set 2 and a close, dramatic 25-20 win in the deciding set to steal the match.
West (6-2) is looking to push itself into the same conversation as some of its other region counterparts. The Lady Wolverines, who won 28 games last season, are off to a strong start to the year in the new Area 5-7A. Even though the games so far have not counted toward area play, West has victories over Milton, North and Central. The other area teams—South Forsyth and Lambert—are considered top teams in Class 7A.
But the Lady Wolverines showed off some talent in Wednesday’s tri-match. Sophomore Brooklyn Clayton and junior Sarah Carlisle, both over 6-feet tall, caused problems for North’s potent hitters at the net. West also got plenty of production from outside hitter Chloe Lance, who had 11 kills against North—six in the final set.
“Considering we lost nine starters from last season we didn’t really know what to expect going in,” West head coach Jake Dickey said. “So the North win was big for us. We’re playing well, we have some young talent, and right now we’re kind of going from set to set. If we can put it all together we can be a really strong team.”
For the Lady Raiders, the loss against North was a bit of a Catch 22. After sweeping Central in the first match (25-9, 25-17) and beating West 25-15 in Set 1, it appeared they would sail through the tri-match. But physical and mental fatigue caught up with the Lady Raiders (4-3), who lost some pop and were out of position more when it mattered most down the stretch.
“We’ve got to learn to close,” North co-head coach Kelly Cecil said. “Whenever we need to close a set we start making hitting errors, serving errors. Our girls have maybe struggled a bit with that cut-throat mentality. You can’t let up because a team can steal that momentum right back.”
North’s late drop-off in the second match couldn’t drown out the impressive performances from some of its star players, including junior hitter Maddie Bryant, who had 18 total kills on the night, including nine in the second set against Central.
West turned around against Central with 25-17 wins in both sets. Central’s Emma Gore stood out during Central’s two matches, including registering 10 kills against North after a shaky start.
The three teams will meet up again Saturday at 9 a.m., along with Pinecrest, for the Forsyth Challenge at West Forsyth High School.