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Volleyball:Falcons, Trojans and Spartans strike first
Region 7-AAA Tournament
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Lady Wolves' seniors talk about today's state finals and why they got out old uniforms for Wednesday's practice.

GAINESVILLE — Flowery Branch senior setter Jennica Ramey and her teammates came into the Region 7-AAA volleyball tournament with something to prove.

The Lady Falcons, up until the most recent rankings, have been the only team in Hall County to boast a state ranking, yet entered the start of yesterday’s tournament with the No. 5 seed.

"We know what we can do," Ramey said, "we just need to show everyone else."

The "us against the world" mentality that Ramey and her fellow Lady Falcons played with proved to be the perfect gameplan, as Flowery Branch defeated No. 4-seeded Johnson and swept Region 7-AAA’s top-seeded West Hall 2-0 (25-22, 25-14) to move into the region semifinals with a showdown against Region 7-AAA’s No. 2-seed North Hall.

Flowery Branch used Ramey’s well-placed sets and Maleigha King’s big kills to knock off perennial powerhouse West Hall with ease.

In West Hall’s match against the Lady Falcons, Courtney Cox led the Lady Spartans with three kills, Kayla Davis added seven digs, Sadie Cornett contributed three aces and Whitney Delp added seven digs and two aces.

"Flowery Branch is the best AAA team I have seen," West Hall coach Sharon Qualls said. "They came out swinging and did nothing wrong."

The Lady Spartans came into the match against Flowery Branch having swept Chestatee in their first round matchup.

"I thought our team came into the Chestatee game flat," Qualls said. "We weren’t mentally prepared and were lucky to come out with a win."

Not only did West Hall win, they swept Chestatee 2-0 (26-24, 25-22) in two close games.

With Chestatee leading 9-6, Qualls called a timeout to refocus her team, and it worked.

West Hall came out of the timeout and tied the score at 9-9 on a kill by Cox, an ace and a point off a long rally.

Cox would finish the match with four aces and six kills.

West Hall took its biggest lead of the game, 18-14, on an ace by the senior Delp. Even though Chestatee would tie it at 24 with an Ali Burnette kill, the Lady Spartans managed to hang on for the win and 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second game, West Hall never allowed the Lady War Eagles to get the lead and, despite a late rally by Chestatee, the Lady Spartans proved resilient in the sweep.

Leading the way for the Lady Spartans in the match was Cox, Jessica Hollis with 10 digs and Delp who had seven digs, six assists, four aces and two kills.

Chestatee was led by Victoria Callahan with five kills and two assists, Erica Lackey with five kills, Jessica Porter with four digs and Charlotte Hill and Kiersten Sapp who each had four assists.

West Hall will look to rebound and make its way back to the title game via the losers bracket by first taking on Johnson at 5 p.m. Thursday at Chesatee High.

North Hall enters Thursday’s region semifinal against Flowery Branch having swept its way through the first two rounds of the region tournament. The Lady Trojans beat Gilmer 2-0 (25-19, 25-18) and West Forsyth 2-0 (25-9, 25-14).

In the first match the Lady Trojans were led by seniors Caroline Coker with seven kills, Katie Spell with six kills, Sara Anne McCoun with eight assists and two kills and Jennifer Morris with seven assists and five aces.

Morris also led the team with aces in the second game with seven.

"Jennifer (Morris) is our No. 1 server," said North Hall coach Debbie Wiley, "and when you’ve got her coming out and getting seven aces it really sets the tone for the game."

Not only did Morris have seven aces in the second match with West Forsyth, she also managed to get five assists.

Also leading the way against West Forsyth for North Hall was Coker with six kills and three assists, Spell with six kills and two assists and McCoun with five assists and two kills.

"We have six and seven seniors in and out of our rotation and when they come ready to play and do well, we do well," said Wiley.

North Hall and Flowery Branch play at 6 p.m. Thursday at North Hall High, the winner moves on to play for the region championship.

In other action ...

The Johnson High volleyball team fell to Flowery Branch 2-1 (25-18, 18-25, 19-25), but rebounded to defeat Gainesville 2-0 (25-13, 25-14) and Gilmer 2-0 (25-13, 25-14) Tuesday night in the opening round of the Region 7-AAA Tournament.

In Johnson’s first match, Shelley Farley led the Lady Knights with 20 assists, while Jordan Howard added 14 digs and seven kills.

In the Lady Knights second match, Katie Clark recorded four kills, while Jordan Gustavel and Anna Beth Peace combined for eight aces.

In Johnson’s final match, Farley had 18 assists and Gustavel added seven kills.

Johnson plays West Hall at 5 p.m. Thursday at North Hall High.

Chestatee picks up a win

After falling to West Hall earlier in the afternoon, Chestatee rebounded to defeat Pickens 2-1 (25-22, 24-26, 25-21) Tuesday night in the opening round of the Region 7-AAA Tournament.

Erica Lackey led the Lady War Eagles with 12 kills, two aces and a dig, while Ali Burnette added five aces, three kills and one dig.

Charlotte Hill contributed seven assists, two aces and a kill for Chestatee.

The Lady War Eagles play West Forsyth at 5 p.m. Thursday at North Hall High.

Gainesville drops two

The Gainesville High volleyball team lost to Chestatee 2-0 (25-17, 25-13) and Johnson 2-0 (25-13, 25-14) Tuesday night in the first round of the Region 7-AAA Tournament.

Taylor Ricketts led the Lady Red Elephants with eight assists, four kills, four digs, three blocks and three aces, while Loren Thomas added three assists, three kills and two digs.

Gainesville’s season concludes with the two losses.

Regional events