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Volleyball: West survives Denmark's late surge
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West Forsyth's Brooklyn Clayton touches a ball over the net during the Wolverines' match against Denmark on Aug. 14, 2018 at West Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

Denmark volleyball had some tough acts to follow on Tuesday night.

Two athletic programs at Forsyth County’s newest school – softball on Tuesday and football on Friday, in a scrimmage – began their history last week with wins. Volleyball would participate in the latest of Denmark firsts: the first contest with another county school, against West Forsyth.

Unlike their counterparts, the volleyball Danes didn’t come away with a victory, but they certainly made things interesting against West, putting up a fight at the end of the second set. The more experienced Wolverines eventually took control of the match, securing a 25-10, 25-22 victory.

Halfway through the match, it looked as though West was on its way to an easy sweep of Denmark, the youngest squad in the county. In the second set, the Danes stayed in contention, but eventually fell behind 18-13. Still, Denmark continued to keep pace with the 7A school, aided by some West mistakes and kills from Madhumitha Senthil and Daniela Rios.

A Senthil ace that made it 23-18 began Denmark’s proudest moment of the night – a 5-1 run that put West on the edge of conceding a set to the newest school in the county. The Wolverines were stuck on the match point for five straight points, but they did what any experienced team would. They didn’t panic.

“’If they lose it, they lose it,” West head coach Jake Dickey said. “I told them, ‘You guys have to compete,’ and they finished it out. I’m proud of them for that. Denmark fought hard.”

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The Denmark volleyball team celebrates after winning a point in its match against West Forsyth on Aug. 14, 2018 at West Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer
“We got a couple of bad breaks going and the girls stayed in there mentally. I wasn’t going to call timeout – sometimes I like them to play through.”

With the score narrowed to 24-22, the Danes’ youth finally caught up to them, with an attempted bump pass sailing behind instead of upward to give West the match. The Danes, who fell to 0-6 after losing to Chattahoochee earlier in the night, were still proud of what they saw.

“We struggled in certain areas, but I’ve got young kids,” Denmark head coach Jaime Maxey said. “I don’t have a senior class, but they work hard, and when they get in their groove they really start to mesh well. They’re still learning each other. They’re still learning who does what and who kind of goes where.”

The first set was not nearly as competitive as the second. West put together three separate runs of six uncontested points or higher, including a 7-0 run to end the game. Brooklyn Clayton, Olivia Dodd and freshman Carra Sassack all were big contributors in Game 1. Sassack, who did not play in Game 2, finished her night with six kills and 11 assists.

Miscommunication and balls hitting the net didn’t help matters for the Danes throughout the first set, but they still saw some flashes of potential, with a 4-0 run briefly putting them within two at 11-8.

“The scoreboard doesn’t matter to me," Maxey said. "If they play well as a team, they talk and they stay positive and have a high energy, I don’t care about the score. It’s a brand-new school, they’re all working really hard, and if they want to be out there, I’m happy.” 

West won its first game of the night, beating Chattahoochee 25-20, 25-16.