CLEMMONS — The West Forsyth volleyball team had one of the most successful seasons in school history, and hopes were high that it could reach Tuesday’s NCHSAA Class 4-A semifinals.
But those hopes faded to a nightmare Saturday night in the quarterfinals at Harold E. Simpson Gymnasium, as the No. 4-seeded Titans were swept by No. 8 Charlotte Ardrey Kell 25-21, 25-21, 25-23.
West Forsyth finished 24-5 after winning the Central Piedmont 4-A with a 9-1 record. Ardrey Kell (25-5) will next play at No. 2 Northwest Guilford (26-2) in Tuesday’s semifinals.
“It’s been a really, really good season,” said junior Kennedy Hairston of West Forsyth. “I definitely think I’ve grown so much as a player, and so has the team. This team has done so many great things.
“Definitely during the beginning of the season I didn’t really know if we’d do as good as I thought we were going to do. Yeah, I thought like, ‘Oh, yeah, maybe we could win conference, but I definitely didn’t know or wasn’t 100% sure we could.’ But we definitely fought and we definitely − we lost one game during conference and (five) games during our whole entire season. So I’m really so, so proud of these girls, and me, and how we played throughout the entire season.”
The Titans took a commanding 6-1 lead in the first set against the Knights, but it was all Knights the rest of the set. The Knights took their first lead at 12-11 and never trailed the rest of the set.
“Once they settled in and were comfortable with our serves. we struggled defensively —closing our blocks and getting hands up early,” said Coach Lauren Gillon of West Forsyth. “I don’t know their names, but No. 1 (Sania McCoy, 5-foot-10) and No. 13 (Alexis Shelton, 6-feet), I think are tremendous hitters and we struggled just even getting slow-downs on them.”
The Knights won the first set by two points, and although the second was close, they controlled most of the play.
“I’ll be honest with you, we haven’t done this all year long,” said Coach Zoe Bell of Ardrey Kell. “It’s just kind of fallen into place and they’re finally following the roads that I’ve given them, and it’s coming in place.”
The Knights led 10-6 and Gillon called timeout, and with the Knights leading 22-18, Gillon called another timeout. The Titans responded and took a 23-22 lead, but lost the next three points.
“It’s a really special group,” Gillon said. “They’re not just teammates. This might be cliche, but they truly are a family. They fought with everything that they had all season.”