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Volleyball Home / Sports / Volleyball

Published: Sep 04, 2007 11:36 AM
Modified: Sep 04, 2007 12:21 PM

Green Hope rolls to 3-game victory

By Tim Candon, Sports Editor
APEX — Twice, Green Hope’s Sarah Forgacs stepped up to serve with the match against Middle Creek close.
Twice, her serve blew open the game in the Falcons’ favor.

Forgacs had runs of 8-0 and 7-0 to open up the second and third games and help the Falcons to a three-game sweep (25-15, 25-9, 25-11) over the Mustangs Thursday.

“She was very inconsistent earlier,” said Green Hope coach George Tsai. “She realized that and she’s been working on it. Now look at her. She didn’t miss a serve.”

Green Hope won all three games convincingly to remain unbeaten (5-0). The Falcons were dominant mostly because their backline covered most of Middle Creek’s hits, and setter Brandi Kearns allowed hitters Lindsey O’Connell, Brittney Flood and Lauren Sammis to pepper all parts of the Mustangs’ side of the court.

“We have a really strong defensive line in the back,” Forgacs said. “We get it to Brandi, the strong setter that she is, she can place it pretty much anywhere, and we have hitters that can hit it anywhere effectively.”

As strong as Green Hope was offensively, Middle Creek was inconsistent. Because the Falcons were hitting so easily and so often, the Mustangs were constantly reacting and defending, never having a chance to hit themselves.

“We need to do things a lot better,” said Middle Creek coach Rosemarie Piccirillo. “We have really, really good moments, and moments where we’re just out of sync and can’t seem to get back.”

Green Hope opened the first game on a 7-1 run and never looked back. The lead stood at 12-3 when O’Connell stepped up to serve. O’Connell had three aces and Flood had two blocks that led to an 18-3 Green Hope lead. Green Hope went on to win the first game 25-15.

Middle Creek started strong in the second game. After falling behind 4-1, the Mustangs surged to a 6-4 lead. Emily Booker had two blocks and Kayla Schuller served an ace on the 5-0 run.

The game remained close, 12-10, until Forgacs’ turn to serve. The Falcons scored nine straight points (kills from Jennifer Hindman and Sammis and a Forgacs ace among them) and led 20-10.

Green Hope quickly regained the serve, and Hindman gave the Falcons a 24-12 lead.

Middle Creek got three points back before a Mustangs unforced error gave the game to the Falcons, 25-15.

In the third game, Green Hope jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Middle Creek inched back into the game and cut the Falcon lead to 10-9. But Forgacs came up to serve and again buried the Mustangs.

Forgacs served seven straight points to put the Falcons up 18-9.

They regained the serve up 20-11, and Kearns served the final five points (three of which were aces) of the match to give the Falcons the third and decisive game, 25-11.

“They really came at us tonight,” Piccirillo said. “They are an exceptional team. You can learn a lot from them.”

Contact Tim Candon at 460-2606 or tcandon@nando.com.

Falcons get back on track
Green Hope snaps three-game skid with 3-1 win over Athens

By Briana Gorman, Correspondent
The Green Hope volleyball team has already reached, and overcome, its season-low — even though it’s only halfway through the schedule. After starting the year 8-0 the Falcons dropped three straight games to Cary, Lee County and Fuquay-Varina. The squad lacked energy in the losses and each defeat ate away at the team’s confidence.
That is why when Athens Drive visited Green Hope on Sept. 20, the Falcons saw it as a must-win situation.

“At practice it was like, ‘We gotta end this’ because, of course, it was pushing us down,” junior Sarah Forgacs said. ‘We were probably as low as we could get, honestly.”

And end it the Falcons did. They defeated the Jaguars in convincing fashion, beating them 3-1, to stop the three-match slide. Green Hope coach George Tsai said the victory was a confidence booster for his downtrodden team.

“We lost three really big games and they were kinda down a little bit so we say this is all we need, the energy,” Tsai said. “I can say I’m very impressed. They dig every ball, they do whatever they can. It was just back and forth. We were just so glad to be able to win.”

The first game was a tight battle, with neither team ever holding more than a three-point lead. Green Hope eventually prevailed 28-26, thanks to some great defensive plays. The second game was much of the same, except this time Athens was able to eke out a 25-23 win to tie the match at 1-1.

“I think we were thinking too much about how we won the first game and how it was a good start compared to our last three games,” Green Hope’s Jenn Hindman said. “We kinda let down in the second game, then we realized this is no joke, we have to play our best.”

And the Falcons are quite good when they play their best. In the third game they steadily built a 20-11 lead before sophomore Adelaine Aman served five straight points to seal the victory for Green Hope, 25-11. Athens came out strong in the fourth game and jumped to a 3-1 lead but it was short lived. The Falcons used the long rallies to their advantage and wore down the Jaguars, winning the final game 25-22.

“I think because they were ahead, they were up one game on us, they were aggressive every single time where we had to be a little more cautious to keep it in play,” Athens coach Angela Coticchio said. “And their aggression just beat us out.”

Another reason for the Falcon’s victory could be attributed to the positioning of certain players. Forgacs, the libero, usually plays in but Tsai moved her back against Athens Drive where it seemed like she dug out almost every serve.

“She just kept digging them out, so that’s really a big inspiration for the team,” Tsai said.

Tsai said you can expect to see Forgacs playing in the back the rest of the season.

And even though the Falcons are capable of winning or losing on any given night as they showed in their three-game skid, Tsai expects his team to only go up from here.

“We have started to gain confidence,” Tsai said. “I think the last three games we really lost the confidence. Now they know they can do it.”

Contact the sports editor at 460-2606 or tcnsports@nando.com.

Cary, Green Hope move on
Apex, Athens Drive elminated from playoffs

Staff report
Cary and Green Hope advanced to the third round of the NCHSAA 4-A volleyball tournament Tuesday, while Apex and Athens Drive had their seasons ended on the road.
Tri-Eight champion Cary swept Fayetteville Cape Fear 3-0. The Imps closed out the first game on a 10-2 run to win 25-17. In the second game, they scored 11 of the final 17 points to win 25-20. They cruised in the third game, 25-16. Cary (18-1) will face Wilmington Hoggard (24-7) Thursday at home at 7 p.m. in a sectional final.

Green Hope, the Tri-Eight No. 2 seed, traveled to Fayetteville and beat Terry Sanford in five games, 25-18, 19-25, 25-19, 26-28, 15-12. The Falcons (18-4) will face East Chapel Hill (18-4) Thursday at 6 p.m. in a sectional final.

Apex, the Tri-Eight No. 4 seed, lost in three games at Wake Forest-Rolesville. WF-R scored 25-22, 25-16 and 25-16 wins to end the Cougars' season. They finished the year 14-6.

Athens Drive, the No. 5 seed from the Tri-Eight, took a two-game lead at Chapel Hill Tuesday, but the Tigers stormed back to win the finall three and elminate the Jaguars. Athens (15-9) won the first game 25-20 and the second game 25-21. Chapel Hill (21-6) fought off elmination and won the next two games 25-23 and 25-20 respectively. The Tigers completed the comeback with a 15-13 win in game five.

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Wildcats wallop Falcons

By Briana Gorman, Correspondent
After East Chapel Hill ended Green Hope’s volleyball season in the third round of the state playoffs, 3-0, Thursday there were no tears, no sobbing, no inconsolable grief.
Instead, for the Falcon’s two senior volleyball players, there were thank yous, hugs, congratulations and smiles.

“It is bittersweet,” senior Lauren Sammis said.

“I feel like we went out on a good note,” senior Brandi Kearns said.

Even though the Wildcats dominated much of the match, the Falcons didn’t get overrun and lost by scores of 25-20, 25-19, 25-21. And in all three games, Green Hope fought back to make it close after trailing.

“We were definitely really scrappy,” Kearns said.

The Falcons found themselves down 22-16 in the first game before they battled back to make it 23-20. But two bad hits by Green Hope gave the game, and the momentum, to East Chapel Hill. Both teams traded points at the start of the second game and it was tied at 5, 10 and 14. The Wildcats then got three straight points to build a comfortable 17-14 lead. The Falcons got within two, but no closer, thanks to East Chapel Hill’s blocking and a couple of Charlotte Harris kills. The Green Hope players said it was the strongest hitting they had seen all season.

“I think we played really well,” East Chapel Hill coach Michelle Wood said. “Our passes were there. I thought our front row hitters did a great job hitting, finding the floor and then they blocked when we needed to.”

In the third game it was Green Hope that jumped to a 6-2 lead and East Chapel Hill that battled back to tie the game at 13-13. As in the previous games, the Wildcats blocking and timely kills proved to be just too much for the Falcons as they took a 17-14 lead.

But Green Hope wouldn’t go quietly.

Down 23-17, the Falcons fought back and cut the lead to 23-21 on a huge kill by Lindsey O’Connell — the last point scored by Green Hope.

“We didn’t give up once the entire time,” Sammis said. “I think the entire time we played strong. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh we’re so down we shouldn’t even try, let’s just let them clobber us.’ We kept fighting to the end.”

Green Hope coach George Tsai said he was very proud of his team but said “they just didn’t have enough” to beat the Wildcats. He said fatigue played a little role since his team had a five-game victory against Fayetteville Sanford High two days earlier.

“Our defense was awesome,” Tsai said. “Serve-receive was awesome and hitting was good.”

Despite the loss, the seniors said they are proud of what they accomplished this year — second in the Tri-Eight and an 18-5 overall record — and will not use the last game of the year as a measuring stick for their season. “We had a really good season so this doesn’t necessarily define our season,” Kearns said.

Contact the sports editor at 460-2606 or tcnsports@nando.com.