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North Hall falls in five-set thriller to Westminster in first round of volleyball playoffs
North Hall volleyball 2021
North Hall's Gavyn Graber (9) returns a shot to Westminster in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs on Oct. 19, 2021 in Gainesville. Photo by Bill Murphy

The future looks very bright for the North Hall High volleyball program. 

The current crop of Lady Trojans, a roster with no seniors in 2021, almost pulled out a come-from-behind decision against a talented Westminster program to open the Class 3A tournament in Gainesville. 

After dropping the first two sets, North Hall fought back vigorously and made it a five-set match that Westminster ended up winning (25-13, 25-19, 25-27, 22-25, 15-12). 

“We just battled so hard, and I couldn’t ask for any more out of these girls,” North Hall coach Emi Hughes said, following a 2 hour, 15 minute match. 

With the loss, North Hall’s season is finished, but not before winning the Hall County championship and taking second in the Area 7-3A tournament. 

The third set helped swing the momentum back heavily in the Lady Trojans’ favor, which lasted until the latter half of the last 15-point set. 

Trailing 2-0 in the best-of-five match, North Hall regained the lead five separate times in the third set. The Lady Trojans led 24-21 before Westminster scored the next four points. North Hall would score three straight points to give it a two-point edge after it was tied 25-all. 

North Hall was left shorthanded momentarily in the third set when sophomore outside hitter Gavyn Graber left with an arm injury, but she was able to return to the floor and quickly chipped in three points and an enthusiastic block to fuel its run. 

The Lady Trojans put up a spirited rally in the fourth set after going down 14-8. 

North Hall slowly chipped away until the set was tied 21-21. The Lady Trojans would score 4 of the final 5 points to take the set. 

With the season on the line, North Hall dug a hole that was too big to dig out of in the 15-point final set. 

After the loss, Hughes was complimentary of her team’s effort while paying respect to the opposition. 

“We knew exactly what we were getting, having to face Westminster in the first round,” Hughes said. “We gave them absolutely everything we had.”

For North Hall, Lexie Martin had 19 assists, four kills and eight digs, while Claire Bowen had five kills and three blocks. 

Gavyn Graber had nine kills and two blocks for the Lady Trojans, while Amelia Shoemaker had 10 kills. 

Anna Kate Shoaf had 18 digs for North Hall, while Karsyn Savage finished with three aces, one kill and three digs. 

Sarah Davidson had four kills, one ace and a block. 

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