Only one volleyball team emerged with two wins from Tuesday’s Region 7-AAA tri-match between West Hall, East Hall and Fannin County.
The Lady Rebels first beat the hosting Lady Spartans 29-27, 23-25, 25-20 before downing the Lady Vikings in straight sets 25-23, 25-18.
The final match of the night proved to be a loud and spirited one as East Hall took both sets 25-21, 25-23 over West Hall in region play.
“We were playing with nerves in the first game with Fannin. We’ve never had a region championship to defend and we knew coming into tonight that was going to be tough,” said East Hall coach Ted Deppe. “I was proud of the way the girls rebounded (against West Hall). West Hall has a great team. Just to come back and to beat them after losing the first one was a big step for us.”
The first set between the Lady Spartans and the Lady Vikings saw the teams split the first six points. After that, West Hall rattled off five straight to take an 8-3 lead.
East Hall (27-9, 3-1 Region 7-AAA) posted four straight points of its own before eventually tying the set at 10 points each.
The five-point lead for the Lady Spartans was later matched in the contest as East Hall led 24-19 before the 25-21 final score.
In the second set, East Hall raced out to an 8-4 lead. West Hall answered with eight consecutive points to take the four-point lead.
From then, the Lady Spartans held on to the lead until the Lady Vikings took it for good at 21-20. The game would be tied one more time at 23-23 before East Hall marked off the final two points.
The Lady Vikings took both victories as sophomore Niyah Rucker blocked hits from West Hall to score the 25th point in both sets.
Deppe said he couldn’t name just one standout player for the night.
“It could be several honestly,” he said. “It was a team effort. Everybody picked everybody up when they made a mistake. It’s a total team win. We had several girls do a bunch of good things. To name one wouldn’t do it justice.”
Minette Maldonado had 12 points on serve for the Lady Vikings. She also had an ace, 22 kills, three assists and 15 digs.
Savannah Thellman led with 31 assists and Summer Lindsey posted 29 digs.
West Hall coach Rachel Lawley said her team played as a unit as well.
“It isn’t about one person, it never is,” she said. “We played for a team. We played for each other. We definitely have some girls that are standout players and some girls that are going to play in college next year, but, ultimately, I would say the whole team put their heart out there and played as one.”
Mia McKensey led the Lady Spartans with a total of 12 kills and 11 digs.
Setters Makayla Courson and Alli Busbee combined for 27 assists and Shelbie Conde added 10 kills.
East Hall was fighting the Lady Spartans on the other side of the net and the home crowd as well.
A group of more than 40 students were standing just behind the court and bearing down on each Lady Viking that touched the ball.
In response, a group of East Hall students and fans joined together to create their own section to rival the home crowd.
“I think we built that up too much,” Deppe said. “That’s one thing the girls were thinking about. We had seen they were going to have a big student section just through social media. We’ve played in that atmosphere before and usually our girls play fairly well in that atmosphere. We told them it was coming and they were prepared.”
East Hall will move on to host Cedar Shoals and Athens Christian Thursday for another tri-match as they celebrate Senior Night.
West Hall will host North Forsyth and Flowery Branch on Thursday. Matches at both schools will begin at 5 p.m.
Both teams will participate in the Hall County Championship Saturday, which will be played at West Hall and Johnson beginning at 9 a.m.