Girls Varsity Volleyball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
The Forge Volleyball team under first year head coach Courtney Guengerich won the 6B Region Title on Monday night at the Forge. A 3-2 nip and tuck affair over the Franklin County Eagles. It is the second region crown in school history, with 13 years between the two titles. During the warm up tonight, Guengerich reminded me in a very confident way, “We’re going to put some numbers up on that banner tonight,” she said.
The Forge was the top seed (21-3) in the 6B region, and Franklin County was a three seed (17-4) heading into the tournament. The Eagles of Franklin County proved to be a pesky group and they battled the Eagles of Stafford Country for every point. Both teams will now head to the State Tournament, but the fans who packed in the Forge barn on Monday night will not forget this one for a while. This was one of those matches that years later even folks that did not attend, will say they were there….it was that exciting.
Forge was coming off a near perfect match in the semifinal round against Cosby, but it might have been setting the bar a little high to think that they would duplicate that performance on Monday night. The lights get a little brighter in a final, and the Forge had a little problem with the glare early. The two teams went toe to toe early and Franklin County held a 7-5 lead. Battling back the Forge displayed a new shot from Senior Kourtney Kynard as she buried a shot we like to call a “Kourtney Kill” and Emma Lazerson threw down a “Lazerson Lazer” to tie the first set at 7-7. The GREEN fans and their bench were up, but Franklin County responded with a 7-1 run, causing Guengerich to call a time-out to talk it over.
The Forge seemed a little out of sorts and were chasing their tail a bit, trying to get back into the set. When Forge mustered an attack, their shots were traveling long and it gave Franklin County the momentum they were seeking after a 4-hour drive to this match. The Forge flipped the switch midway through the set on a service ace from Simone Newell. The next point Lazerson leaped with a loaded LAZER in her right arm but the ball nestled in the net. The senior was unfazed as she corrected that mistake by back-to-back LAZERS to tie the set at 17-17. Both teams battled late and the set was tied three more times in the process, but at 24-24, Franklin County caused two straight Forge errors and the visitors had a 1-0 lead match.
The Franklin County crowd may have been a little groggy after the drive, but when their Eagles took the first set, the RED clad fans were in FULL THROAT after winning a set over the region’s top seed.
The second set was ALL Colonial Forge as the “good gals” seemed to get their legs under them and dominated throughout. Forge won 14 of the sets first 20 points and all of a sudden, the GREEN had a swag in their game. The Forge got their fans on their feet with a 3-point run highlighted by two soaring kills from Kailey Schoolfield giving her team a 21-11 lead late. Some unforced errors by Franklin County had the Forge smelling blood and they tied up the match at a set apiece with a 24-14 win.
Forge could not hold the momentum long as Franklin County dug in during the third set. It was a battle throughout as power met power. The set was tied 10 times and neither team could grab a hold of the momentum or a commanding lead. With the set tied at 20-20, Franklin County’s Courtney Bryant buried a shot then teammate Julia Holley had a crucial block at the net followed by a Forge shot that went sideways and Franklin County held a 23-20 lead. When Holley blocked another Eagle shot at the net, the visitors took a 2-1 set lead.
The top seeded Eagles were down and searching for answers as to how to pull this one together on their home floor. When Franklin County took the first 5 points of the fourth set, the fans in red were raising the roof while the Forge crowd was watching a regional title slipping away. Colonial Forge seemed to go to one of the things that got them this far in the season, their front line. Net presence started to make a statement as they tried to get the set under control. The “good gals” were down 7-4 when Schoolfield and Kourtney Kynard combined on two beautiful blocks of Bryant and it allowed them to cut the deficit two one at 7-6. The Forge was able to tie it up at seven, and went on a little run of their own. They were tied at 10-10 when Walker tried a little backwards dink shot that fell helplessly to the floor in front of a Franklin County defender and it gave the Forge an 11-10 lead.
Franklin County went on a run the beneficiary of some Forge errors and jumped out to an 18-12 lead. The Forge, down but now out, seemed to shift gears a bit and got an ace from Lazerson followed by a Kourtney (Kynard) Kill and combined them with two Franklin County errors tied the set at 18-18 and the atmosphere in the gym as deafening. The two teams were tied at 19-19 when Paityn Walker had the shot of the match with a backward over the shoulder dink shot that landed on the empty side of the Franklin County net to put Forge ahead 20-19 and the Forge fans were pleading for a deciding fifth set. We were tied at 22-22 when the Forge blocked Bryant on two consecutive possessions and the momentum went to the Forge side as they tied the match with a 25-23 win.
In the deciding set the Forge, used 7-0 run to take control and as the Forge started to see a region trophy within reach, Franklin County started to tighten up at the realization that they had control, but were unable to sustain it. A kill late by Elyssia Smith (an E-Kill) sent Eagle Nation into a state of euphoria while the Franklin County fans headed for their cars, and a long trip home.
The good gals will host a state quarter-final match on November 10th at home against an opponent to be determined. While we wait for Saturday, it is time to order some numbers for that banner. In years to come we will all remember this team, and the things they accomplished in one of the most dramatic and drastic turnarounds in school history….and WE WERE ALL THERE!