Brookwood'sHannah Kitchen, left, celebrates with Shannon Khung, 12, and her other teammates after winning a set against Island High School in the first round of the state volleyball playoffs Thursday at Brookwood High School in Snellville. Brookwood befeated Island High School in three sets to advance to the second round.
SNELLVILLE -- Things didn't start out too well, but in the end, Brookwood did what one would expect of the No. 9 team in the state and defeated Islands in the first round of the state volleyball playoffs, sweeping the visitors from Savannah, 25-10, 25-8, 25-17.
Both teams began the game sluggishly, committing multiple unforced errors to put the score at 9-7 in favor of Brookwood (37-11). However, the Broncos got things going, scoring 15 of the next 17 points to take control of the game.
"It was a little frustrating at first," said Brookwood head coach Brian Welsch. "Volleyball is all about serving and passing. When you don't do those things too well, you can't give your setter a chance to run the offense. Once they called a timeout, I reminded the girls that we had to play our game. We had to play Brookwood volleyball."
And that's exactly what they did as setter Bethany Easom got the offense going with a quick tip over the net to give Brookwood a 12-9 lead. On the next two volleys, Easom set up Maggie Collins and Erin Shelton for kills, expanding Brookwood's lead. And it didn't end there, as Easom continued to get her teammates involved, setting them up for multiple kill opportunities, including four in a row hit by Collins and Shelton to give the Lady Broncos a 23-9 lead.
Brookwood closed out the game three volleys later to take the first set, 25-10.
In the second set, Welsch got his second line of players in, allowing them to have playoff game experience should they be called on later in the state tournament.
The Broncos raced out to a 10-5 lead, only allowing Islands three more points the rest of the game. Leslie Stinnett got kills for Brookwood's 13th and 18th points, as kill chances weren't as many in the second game due to 10 unforced errors on the part of the Sharks.
Shannon Khung ended the second set blocking a kill attempt by Islands, giving Brookwood a 25-8 win.
"We got a lot of girls playing time," Welsch said. "It was nice to see them come in and not miss a beat."
The third game saw things get a little closer between the two sides. After Brookwood started the game on a 7-0 run, Islands fought its way back to 12-8 and then 13-10. But, that would be as close as the Lady Sharks would get as Brookwood scored 12 of the last 19 points to take the win.
Stinnett, Shelton and Colleen Thompson each finished the game with six kills, while Easom, Samantha Gratton and Dani Jozwowski each had three aces.