Girls Varsity Volleyball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
(Photo by Peter Cihelka - Free Lance Star)
It is a common analogy that one of the hardest things to do in sports is beat a team three times in one year. The Forge Volleyball team does not spend a lot of time, worrying about sports analogies. The “good gals” took down the Riverbend Bears (25-10, 25-23, and 25-15) in the 6B quarterfinals on Tuesday night 3-0.
The Eagles ended the regular season against the Bears on Senior Night just six days earlier and actually lost the first set of that match until they put the world back on its axis, taking the next three sets, to head into the post season as the 6B #1 seed.
On Tuesday, the Eagles took control early jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead on the strong serve of sophomore Paityn Walker. A couple of aces by Alexis Troy of the Bears and an unforced error by the Eagles tied it at 4-4. A kill by Kailey Schoolfield put the Forge back in front 5-4, and they dominated the rest of the set. The Eagles went on a 7-1 run of their own culminated with a slam with authority from Kourtney Kynard to take a 12-5 advantage midway through the set. They closed out the initial frame with an impressive 9-1 run and won the set going away 25-10.
The Eagles headed to the second set with confidence but the Bears would show signs of life and gave the Forge all they could handle. The set included 10 ties and had the GREEN back on their heels throughout. The Eagles struggled through and while the Bears were battling, the “good gals” tried to answer every salvo. Even with the Bears trying to get themselves back in the match, the Eagles never trailed by more than 4 throughout the set.
The Forge trailed 18-21 late in the second when the Forge seemed to wake up and take control. The run began with back-to-back aces from Baylie Ostvig to cut the deficit to 20-21. From there Kourtney Kynard provided the net presence that the Eagles needed as the senior jumped tall with a kill and a block late, and this one fell to the Forge side of the board and the GREEN took a commanding 2-0 lead in the match. Just when the Bears looked like they were going to make it a long night, the Eagles re-set and took control back with a great effort.
The Bears could have folded after watching a set win turned into loss, but they kept battling. Early in the third, they battled to stay with the Forge and had the set tied for the sixth time knotting it up at 9-9.
One constant during this battle was each time the Eagles were looking for a stop; they found their serve in the hands of Walker who would start Forge runs to regain control. Walker showed up at the gym prior to the game in a boot, battling a foot ailment from a cross-country workout. A little bit of discomfort cannot stop the tough as nails sophomore as she served the Eagles back in control and they went on a 6-0 run that was capitalize by a kill by Emma Lazerson. This kill was no Lazerson Lazer however as the senior didn’t get all of it and the ball wobbled to the net, hit and rode the tape of the net before falling helplessly to the floor for a Forge 15-9 lead. In her final campaign at the Forge Lazerson reached into her bag of tricks and introduced the LAZERSON LAZY, but it was still money for the “good gals”.
The two teams would continue to battle, and the Bears actually cut the lead down to 16-13, before the eagles got an ace from Simone Newell and a block from Elyssia Smith to sway the momentum back to the Forge side. When Lazerson unleashed her final LAZER of the night, it was “START THE BUSES” time and time for the top seeded Eagles to move on to the 6B semi-final. That match will be played at Forge on Thursday night as they welcome in the Cosby Titans.
Playing a team, like Riverbend for the third time gives you a sense of familiarity, but now the tests only get tougher and the focus and effort must increase. This team has answered so many questions this year under first year coach Courtney Guengerich, the focus and effort will be the key ingredients to a long post season run.