Buford’s volleyball team celebrates its three set victory over North Gwinnett in the finals of the Gwinnett County volleyball championships on Saturday at Mill Creek.
(Photo: David McGregor)
HOSCHTON — Buford pulled off perhaps the biggest trio of upsets in recent memory as it ran the gauntlet of Greater Atlanta Christian, Wesleyan and North Gwinnett to win the gold bracket at the Gwinnett County Volleyball Championships on Saturday at Mill Creek.
The Wolves won four games on the day, including wins over AA No. 3 GAC, AA No. 1 Wesleyan and AAAAAA No. 9 North.
“This is big for our program,” Buford head coach Hadli Daniels said. “We came in as the underdogs and showed we could play with some of the best teams in the state.”
In the first game of the final, Buford got out to an early 3-0 lead, but North scored five-straight points to take a 5-3 lead. The teams stayed close through the middle parts of the game, but Buford scored nine-straight points to take an 18-11 lead, which included three block kills from Bree Horracks and two kills from Gabby Curry.
“I loved the fact that they got out to a good lead in that first game,” Daniels said. “Usually they like to get behind and give me a heart attack, but they played great there.”
From there, the Wolves controlled the rest of the game, getting two kills in a row from Amanda Hopkins and two more kills from Curry. Buford’s 25th point came on a Maggie Roper kill, giving the Wolves the first game, 25-16.
The second game saw North take the advantage, despite getting down 7-2 after a kill by Morgan Mitchell. North scored 11 of the next 12 points, which included two kills each by Natalie Scott and Alyssa Munlyn to go up 13-8. After that, North was able to force Buford into more mistakes, stretching its lead to as many as nine points before putting the game away on a kill by Stout. The kill gave North a 25-17 win and set up a deciding third game.
“That second game was not us,” Daniels said. “They got us out of a rhythm and we couldn’t get out of the funk. I told the girls to just relax (in the third game) and play our game. If we did that, we would come out on top.”
The third game saw North hold one lead—1-0.
A block kill by Roper, an ace by Hopkins and another kill by Roper put Buford up 4-2. And that’s as close as North would be the rest of the game seven of the next nine points to take a commanding 11-4 lead. In that stretch, Horrocks had three kills, and added another one later to give the Wolves a 12-6 lead.
Six points later, Curry wrapped up the county title as she slammed the ball onto North’s side, giving Buford its first county volleyball title.
“We really felt like the underdog all day,” Daniels said. “This win gives us a lot of confidence moving forward.”
The Wolves advanced to the title game with a 25-16, 25-21 win over Wesleyan. In that game, Buford got 10 digs and one block from Curry, nine assists from Mitchell and six kills from Roper.
Wesleyan received eight kills from Emma Bivings, 12 assists from Kendra Koetter, and three kills each from Lauren Frerking and Katie Van Laeke.
In advancing to the finals, North beat Norcross, 25-16, 17-25, 15-12.
Stout had nine kills, while Carson Nevels had eight kills. Taylor Spence added four kills and McKenzie Major had 20 assists.
For Norcross, Kolby Meeks had seven digs and 11 kills, while Sammie Baker had nine digs and 24 assists. The trip of Angel Acosta, Sam Marshall and Iana Dingle each had six digs, and Shelby King had five kills.
The Storm won the silver bracket at the Gwinnett County Volleyball Championships, defeating Archer in the finals, 25-16, 25-15. Providence also beat Grayson (25-11, 25-18) and Duluth (25-23, 23-25, 15-10).
Casey Rose had eight aces and 19 assists, while Megan Parker had 11 kills and 18 assists. Anna Scott had 11 kills and Alex Keller had nine kills.
After staring the year 3-17, Providence is 10-4 in its last 14 games.