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North Hall volleyball team falls in Class AAAA quarterfinals to defending champions Marist
Bly Belcher
North Hall's Bly Belcher

North Hall’s volleyball team were knocked out of the Class AAAA State Tournament Saturday in the quarterfinal round by Marist School.

The Lady War Eagles swept the Lady Trojans 25-12, 25-6, 25-15 in the best-of-five format.

“We knew we were going to face a really good team — they’re the defending state champions,” coach Emi Hughes said.

“Our goal was to come out and make sure we didn’t leave anything on the court. We wanted to play hard. Unfortunately, the score isn’t going to reflect just how hard we played.”

After the first two sets were completed, the teams took a break and headed to locker rooms to make adjustments.

Whatever Hughes said in the locker room seemed to work for the Lady Trojans early in the third set as North Hall trailed Marist 11-9 before the Lady War Eagles pulled away.

In the final stretch of the match, Marist outscored the visiting team 14-6 to take the victory.

North Hall scored the first point of the second set as sophomore Autumn Tucker had a kill straight down the line of the net.

The Lady War Eagles scored the next two points of the set before Tucker delivered another kill.

With the set tied at 2-all, Marist scored 17 points in a row to lead 19-2.

The Lady Trojans notched three of the next five points scored in the set, but Marist closed with the final four.

In the first set, the two teams were deadlocked at 6-6 before Marist went on a 19-6 run to shut the door.

“They didn’t (let anything fall),” Hughes said. “They’re a solid team from top-to-bottom. I can think about some of the points that any other day we would have scored on someone and they got to everything. They’re a solid team and they will make a valiant effort to defend that state championship.”

Hughes said she was proud of how her team played overall and proud of the run they made in the tournament.

“I’m happy with our play,” she said. “The unfortunate part about the postseason is that one team is going to go home happy in a week. We’re happy to be in the final eight. I’m excited about our future for sure.”

While Hughes bragged on the play of seniors Bly Belcher, Danielle DeVerter and Makenzie Bryant, the future looks bright with a junior and six sophomores making up the rest of the roster.

“They’ve had the taste (of the third round) and they know the work that has to go in and how much better we have to get to get to the Final Four,” Hughes said. “If any group is going to be able to do it, it will be this group. I can assure you, in the next few years, we’re going to be deep in the discussion (for a state title).”

Belcher finished the game with 3 kills, 2 blocks and 16 digs.

As the team’s libero, Bryant had 21 digs. Tucker finished with 7 kills and 2 blocks with 11 digs.

Sophomore Melissa DeVerter had a kill, a block and three digs for the Lady Trojans.

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