GARNER — “Revenge week” has been sweet to Garner volleyball. The Trojans made it through the season dropping just two matches, and in less than a week had the opportunity to play both teams they lost to.
After claiming the Greater Neuse River Conference tournament title against Clayton, next up was Athens Drive in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.
Garner swept the Jaguars, 25-23, 25-13, 25-22 to turn around a 3-2 loss in the Trojan Invitational in the season’s first week.
“We went to five sets with both Clayton and Athens and then we (came back and) beat them in three, and I think that really shows what kind of team we’ve become and how much better we work together,” said Garner senior setter Courtney Weathersbee.
Weathersbee had 31 assists. Almost all of them went to either senior Brooke Kamphuis (11 kills), Ka’asha Jefferies (eight), Nyah Hines (seven) and Kelsey Bryan (seven).
Garner (23-2) only played seven players in the match, but one of the reasons the Trojans have not needed to substitute much is that each player has improved her defensive play over the last year.
Ninth-year Garner coach Jason Boyette called it the best back row he has ever had.
“I didn’t play that much defense (as a sophomore and junior) ... but defense has really picked up this year,” Weathersbee said, adding that she’s become more of a blocker this season.
While revenge week was a success, and win No. 23 set a new program best, the next step for Garner is to see whether school record books can be rewritten again. As good as the last few seasons have been, the Trojans have never made it to the third round.
Garner hosted Millbrook on Tuesday in the second round.
“Three years in a row, we’ve lost here in the second round,” Boyette said. “Our seniors want to do something that’s never been done before.”
Athens Drive’s Rachel Kinsey had 10 kills in the losing effort. Junior Alex Porter and sophomore Raquel Rooney had six kills.
The Jaguars (12-10) enjoyed a bounce-back season after winning six games over the two previous seasons. Athens was fourth in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference and will lose six seniors in Kayla Madia, Meg Howell, Ashley Collins, Kayla Young, Laura Hiatt and Kinsey.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps