LILBURN - The Parkview volleyball team picked up a narrow win in the second game of its first round Class AAAAA playoff match Thursday.
Then Rebecca Streich entered the gym with her family, and a loud ovation was given for the senior who needed crutches to get across the gym floor. Streich had surgery on her knee earlier in the day after tearing her meniscus a few weeks ago.
Seeing Streich lifted the Panthers' spirits and Parkview finished off Westlake in the third game to take a 25-9, 25-19, 25-11 victory.
"We definitely played for her in that last game," Parkview senior Kelsey Kenny said. "We got a little emotional because we were excited to see her, but we definitely played for her. We played our hearts out for her."
The win puts three-time Region 8 champ Parkview (30-16) back in the second round of the playoffs. The Panthers were defeated by Milton last year in the postseason 25-15, 25-19, 25-23. Parkview will likely get another shot at the No. 9 Eagles, who played Warner-Robins in the first round. The Panthers will host the second round match on Tuesday.
"We lost to them last year in the same round of the playoffs, so I'm really excited to see how it goes," Kenny said.
Parkview defeated Milton nearly two weeks ago, but that was when Streich went down with her injury. The Eagles were also without their setter.
"It's an emotional match for us, for sure," Parkview coach Catherine Zidow said of the rematch.
Parkview took a 25-9 victory in the first game, but ran into a strong Westlake server in the second game. The Lions built an early 6-3 and it took a kill by Enjoli Johnson (11 kills, 1 1/2 blocks) and a tip over the net to put Parkview ahead 15-14. Westlake managed to keep it close the rest of the game before the strong serves of Kelly Hayden (28 digs) and net play of Lauren Coleman began to pull the Panthers away. Sammi Bosler's serves closed out the 25-19 victory. Bosler had two aces on the day.
After Streich entered the gym the match was never close again. Parkview jumped out an 8-3 lead on Jessica Mann's kill and never looked back. The junior added two more kills to make it 15-4 and she finished with 12 kills for the day.
"This team is really close," Zidow said. "When (Streich) went down it was a little shaky moment. Senior, outside hitter, best ball control player, but they've really come together and I think the season is kind of for her. It was good for her to walk in the middle of that."
Katie Carroll led Parkview with 31 assists and Lauren Coleman had 12 digs.