Blue Devils title search ends in battle with Lassiter

JOHNS CREEK - The Norcross girls volleyball team had their hopes for a state title doused by Lassiter in a closely contested match Saturday afternoon in Class AAAAA playoffs at Chattahoochee.

After winning a thrilling third game 25-23 to take a two games to one edge in the match, the Blue Devils got off to fast start in game four but were overtaken by the fifth ranked Trojans, who maintained that momentum to win the decisive fifth game.

"It was a heart-breaking loss," Norcross coach Kevin Dove said. "We were well prepared and came to play but just couldn't put them away. Lasiter is very good team."

Norcross started fast with a 25-14 win in the initial game behind the consistently good play of Tiffany Clarke. The talented senior ended the match with 27 kills, second only to Norcross junior Briana Jordan.

"We knew that Tiffany had to play well because she was going up against Taylor Montgomery, who is 6-5 and All-State," Dove said. "And she came up big today and played very well."

Lassiter showed its strength by taking the second game handily 25-7, and then the momentum seemed to shift Norcross' way with what appeared to be a pivotal win in the third game 25-23. The game featured numerous lead changes and also showcased some timely cross-court winners by the Blue Devils' Anjelica Wilcox.

The momentum in Norcross' favor seemed to fuel its quick 6-1 lead in Game 4. Lassiter, however, showed great poise by reeling off five unanswered points to even the score and then went on to 25-16 win. The Trojans' Montgomery seemed to assert herself with several key blocks and kills.

The fourth-game comeback by Lassiter pushed the match into the decisive fifth game. With 15 points the goal in the final game, the pressure on both teams was more intense. The fifth game was tight until Lassiter broke free after an 11-11 tie to score the final four points.

"I'm proud of our team because the girls played hard and well. But we didn't win the key points, the momentum shifters, down the stretch and that proved to be the difference," Dove said.

The Blue Devils, winner of Region 7 AAAAA, finished the season with a 29-12 record.