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Creekview, West Forsyth surge to front at Area tournament
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Flowery Branch High’s Samantha Saylers, right, and Rebecca Nash, left, defend against West Forsyth’s Jessica Feltracco’s smash during Thursday night’s Region 7-AAA volleyball tournament at the Johnson High gymnasium.

OAKWOOD — The Area 7-AAA volleyball tournament is matching up with remarkable accuracy to the seedings following Thursday’s opening day of action at both Flowery Branch and Johnson High. The top four seeds could be the ones to secure the four playoff spots to the area state sectionals.

No. 1 seed Creekview cruised to the semifinals with wins over Gilmer and North Hall (23-25, 25-6, 25-16) at Flowery Branch. Meanwhile, No. 2 seed West Forsyth was just as sharp with wins against Johnson (25-13, 25-13) and Flowery Branch (25-18, 25-19) at Johnson.

With the wins, Creekview (27-11-1) and West Forsyth (38-9-1) earn a bye to the semifinals and will face each other at 10 a.m. Saturday at Flowery Branch. The Grizzlies and Wolverines are also automatically qualified for the Class AAA state sectionals next weekend.

“We’ve never been in this position before,” West Forsyth coach Jim Orr said.

Last year, first-year West Forsyth qualified for the area sectionals as a No. 4 seed. This year, it might be Lambert, the new first-year school in Forsyth County, to make it to state. The Longhorns defeated Gainesville, and following a loss to Flowery Branch, rebounded with a win against Johnson (25-18, 22-25, 25-22).

Lambert won the third game thanks to an eight-point scoring run late to overtake the Knights. With the win, the Longhorns face North Hall at 9 a.m. Saturday at Flowery Branch.

The Trojans started the day with a win against West Hall (25-15, 25-17). Kathryn Bell led North Hall with 17 assists, a nine-point service run, eight digs and six kills. Evann Rowland added 12 digs, 10 kills and four aces for the Lady Trojans. Lauren Gregory had nine digs, four kills and a pair of blocks for North Hall.

West Forsyth won a tight match against Flowery Branch. The Lady Wolverines overcame a 5-0 deficit early in the second game to secure a 25-19 win. Megan Pepe had 20 assists for West Forsyth. Daniela Cavallo had six kills, while Jessica Feltracco and Jessica Lewis each had five kills for West Forsyth.

This isn’t the first time that West Forsyth pulled off a big rally this year. Earlier in the season, the Lady Wolverines trailed by as many as six points before rallying to beat Class AAAAA’s Brookwood.

“The key for us was that our girls worked so hard, focused and really got better as the night went along,” Orr said, referring to the match against Flowery Branch.

West Hall advanced to the semifinals where it will play Flowery Branch. The Spartans beat Chestatee (25-14, 25-18), Gainesville (18-25, 25-15, 25-12) and Gilmer (25-18, 25-14) to reach the semis. West Hall was led by Kristen Holmes (28 kills), Stephanie Rowland (14 kills), Erica Grainger (47 assists, six aces and a service run of nine points), Sadie Cornett (nine aces) and Nicolette Ashley, who had 26 digs.

All matches in the Area 7-AAA Tournament on Saturday are at Flowery Branch High. The finals are expected to begin at noon.

Regional events