Wesleyan's Lauren Frerking (4) celebrates with her teammates Anna Davis (9), Jennifer Miller (5) and Kendra Koetter (7) after scoring a point during game two of high school girls volleyball action against Greater Atlanta Christian at Wesleyan High School in Norcross on Thursday. Wesleyan defeated GAC 25-23 in two of two games.
NORCROSS -- Any time Wesleyan and Greater Atlanta Christian get together in athletics, there's a good chance the action will be competitive and exciting.
That was the case Thursday night as two of the top teams in high school volleyball tangled at Reeder Court on the Wesleyan campus.
Rallying late with key plays in both games, Wesleyan pulled out a 25-23, 25-23 victory over GAC in the first of what will probably be many head-to-head battles during the 2012 season.
Wesleyan, ranked No. 1 in the most recent Class AA poll, won for the 10th time in its last 11 matches and improved to 12-6 overall for the season.
GAC, ranked No. 3, dropped to 8-5 overall.
"I think in spots tonight we really played well and it was exciting for an early-season match," said Wesleyan head coach Ted Russell. "But, overall, I told our team that I thought GAC was out-hustling us and they were extremely scrappy. But that's the kind of competition we need to see and we ended up making some plays down the stretch when everything was on the line."
Wesleyan jumped ahead in Game 1 and led 5-3 before GAC came back to take an 8-6 advantage.
After Wesleyan pulled in front 10-9, GAC got on a roll and went ahead 16-12.
GAC watched the lead evaporate as Wesleyan knotted the game up at 17-17, but the Spartans regrouped and seemed to be in control in building a 23-21 lead.
However, Wesleyan finished strong by scoring the last four points and took the opening game 25-23.
The action was similar in Game 2 with neither team able to build more than a two-point lead until Wesleyan pulled out to a 16-13 lead.
But GAC wouldn't go away and the Spartans came right back to tie it at 17-17.
The two teams continued to go toe-to-toe, trading leads and never gaining more than a two-point margin.
But just like they did in Game 1, the Wolves won the critical points to pull out the 25-23 win in Game 2 of the best-of-three match.
Junior Katie Van Laeke led Wesleyan with seven kills, while senior Anna Davis had five kills.
Sophomore Lauren Frerking added four kills and junior Hannah Hoskin had four kills and 11 digs for the Wolves.
Sophomore Kendra Koetter was solid with 19 assists and 10 digs, while junior Kristen Pack had nine digs for Wesleyan.
"Anna Davis had some big swings for us when it counted and Jen Miller's serving helped with some key runs," said Russell. "And Ashley Moody also helped us in the middle when we needed it."
Senior Emma Taylor paced the GAC attack with eight kills and 11 digs, while junior Tayler McPherson added seven kills and junior Madison Kerr had five kills.
Freshman Emily Becker, who recently set a school record with 42 digs in a best-of-five match, came up big again for GAC with 22 digs.
Senior Jennie McCarty was also impressive for the Spartans with 19 assists.
"That was fun tonight and it was really good volleyball," said GAC head coach Kristy Shelton. "Point-for-point, I thought we were right there. We just need to clean up some on our serving, because we were right there and we could have gone three (games). But I was so proud of the way we passed and played defense. We got our hands on some balls at the net and also cleaned up a lot of balls in the back of the court.
"We're still learning how to play with each other and we don't focus on what we lost from last year. We're unified and playing together."
The two teams will head to Jefferson next Tuesday to compete in the Area 6 round-robin along with Rabun County and host Jefferson, ranked No. 4 in Class AA.