After preaching all week long the importance of smooth and steady play, North Hall High volleyball coach Emi Hughes watched her Lady Trojans volleyball team answer the call with a breezy first-round playoff win over Towers on Wednesday in Gainesville.
It took a span of 45 minutes for the top-seeded Lady Trojans to rattle off a 3-0 (25-5, 25-3, 25-6) sweep of the Titans on their home court and propel them into the Sweet 16 for the third-consecutive season.
Hughes was pleased to see her North Hall (43-10) team maintain focus after getting a double dose of Greater Atlanta Christian in last week’s Area 7-3A tournament, during which the Trojans claimed the title outright by not dropping a single set.
“Having to play GAC twice — you know you’re really in a dogfight, if you will — it was good to get back into our routine and our momentum, and just keep that steady pace,” Hughes said. “It’s easy to kind-of take the level of play down a bit. But I felt like we kept it pretty high. That’s what we’ll have to do.”
North Hall continues its quest to match, if not top, last year’s historic run when it hosts the winner of No. 3 Lakeview-Fort Olgethrope and No. 2 East Jackson in the second round next Tuesday. The Lady Trojans fell to eventual state champion Westminster in the Class 3A semifinals, the furthest the school has ever gone in a state tournament in 2016. The Lady Trojans (43-10) trailed just once for the match, using an efficient service game to rattle off an excess of scoring runs in order to establish a lead and steadily pull away in each set. Four players totaled three or more aces, Holly Worden leading with seven. Senior Savannah Miller fronted the Trojans attack with 10 kills, followed by Autumn Tucker (three aces, four digs) with eight. Grace Hollifield (six kills), Lily Paschall (26 assists, four kills) and Caroline Brady (five aces, two kills) supplemented the North Hall attack as well.
Miller and Hollifield and Molly Martin especially came out firing in the final set after falling in an early 0-2 hole. Miller recorded her final four kills as the Lady Trojans stormed back on a 7-0 run, and went on to win 19 of the next 22 points to seal it.