GAINESVILLE — The Flowery Branch High volleyball team wanted one more chance to show North Hall that they were the best in Region 7-AAA.
The Lady Falcons, who lost to North Hall 2-0 earlier in the year, got that chance and took full advantage.
The No. 5-seeded Lady Falcons cruised past North Hall, Region 7-AAA’s defending champion, with a 2-0 (25-22, 25-15) victory Thursday at North Hall High in the Region 7-AAA tournament.
With the win, Flowery Branch advances to the championship round. Since North Hall rebounded from the loss to defeat West Hall in the losers bracket, the two teams will play again at 7 p.m. Saturday at North Hall High for the region title.
"This win is huge for us tonight," Flowery Branch coach Bryan Mavas said. "We played them earlier in the year, and we didn’t play up to our level, and they beat us. The girls began asking right away when we played them again, and I told them that the only way we’d get to play them again was in the area tournament.
"The girls were just really building up for this match."
With Flowery Branch trailing 14-13 in game two, junior setter Jennica Ramey took control of the game.
Ramey faked a set to her teammates that sent the Trojan defense scrambling and instead placed a ball perfectly over North Hall’s front line that tied the game at 14-14. She then stepped back to the service line and led Flowery Branch to a 9-0 run that the Lady Trojans failed to overcome.
"North Hall is our biggest rival," Ramey said. "We set goals before the match to not make any unforced errors. I tried to stay consistent with my play, and our front line really played well. Tonight was just a really big win for us."
"(Jennica) really has an understanding for the game and this year she is really coming out trying to be an attacking setter," Mavas added. "She has been around the game for a while now, and she is developing into a great player."
In the first game, Flowery Branch jumped out to an early 10-6 lead.
Following a Flowery Branch mishandled set, North Hall rallied to score eight consecutive points. Realizing that momentum was quickly shifting, Mavas called a time out to settle his Lady Falcons down.
"I told the girls that the adrenaline was getting the better of them," Mavas said. "You could tell the girls’ nerves were getting to them, and I told them to just calm down."
Following the time out, a triple-attack led by Ramey, Falyn
Richardson and Megan Grewett proved too much for the Lady Trojans to contain and the Lady Falcons squeezed by with a three-point victory.
Danielle Hollander led the Lady Trojans with six aces and four kills, while Caroline Coker and Katie Spell recorded four kills each.
"The girls hung tough tonight," North Hall coach Debbie Wiley said. "We’re going to watch the matches on film (today), and work on some things at practice.
"We are all looking forward to Saturday’s game and we definitely want another banner hanging in our gym."
North Hall wins to advance to championship
The Lady Trojans rebounded from their loss earlier in the day and defeated West Hall 2-0 (25-20, 25-20) to earn their second consecutive trip to the Region 7-AAA championship game. Katie Spell led North Hall with nine kills, while Caroline Coker and Danielle Hollander recorded five kills each. Sara Anne McCoun added eight assists and four kills, while Jennifer Morris had eight assists and two aces.
Whitney Delp led West Hall with 14 digs and four kills. Jessica Hollis added 14 digs, Courtney Cox added six kills and Kayla Davis recorded five assists.
West Hall advances to state tourney
The Lady Spartans earned their sixth consecutive trip to the Class AAA state tournament with wins against Johnson 2-0 (25-16, 25-22) and West Forsyth 2-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-18). In West Hall’s match with Johnson, Abigail Grindle led the Lady Spartans with 11 digs, six aces and three kills. Whitney Delp finished with 10 digs, seven kills, four aces and five assists, while Erica Grainger added five digs. Katie Cole led Johnson in its final match of the season with 15 digs, while Jordan Howard and Susie Boleman combined for 10 kills.
Chestatee drops its final game
The Lady War Eagles lost their final match of the season to West Forsyth 2-1 (17-25, 25-14, 22-25) as Jessica Porter led Chestatee with five aces, four digs and a kill. Ali Burnette added six kills and an ace and Madison Yates recorded six kills and a block.