Photo by Brian Paglia / Woodland’s volleyball team breaks the huddle after a timeout during its match against Locust Grove at Stockbridge on Tuesday. The Lady Wolfpack pulled out a 25-22, 25-20 victory to remain undefeated.
STOCKBRIDGE — Woodland volleyball coach Gerri Wright doesn’t notice her players talking about their unprecedented success — about a steadily increasing undefeated record, a run Lady Wolfpack volleyball has never seen before.
“They don’t go out playing timidly,” Wright said. “They just go out playing their game, and that’s what I’ve always told them to do — if they play their game, they’ll win.”
So far, the Lady Wolfpack are listening. With two more victories Tuesday in a tri-match at Stockbridge, they improved to 14-0 overall and 2-0 in Area 4-AAAA.
The match to watch was against Locust Grove, a meeting between two ranked teams and area foes from Henry County who’d met earlier this season.
Woodland won that meeting, too, in two games, 25-21, 25-14.
This time it was competitive to the very end. The Lady Wolfpack, ranked No. 5 in Class AAAA in the latest PrepCountry.com/GACA Coaches Poll, outlasted No. 9 Locust Grove in the first game for a 25-22 win then went back-and-forth in the second game.
Woodland took a 17-8 lead, its largest of the second game, only for Wright to call a timeout after Locust Grove (13-5, 1-1) cut the lead to 17-13. Wright’s timeout didn’t work. Locust Grove kept coming, eventually getting within two points at 18-16.
But the Lady Wolfpack never wavered. Woodland has not been perfect this season. Luella, Ola and Union Grove have all taken Woodland to decisive third games.
Yet, it found a way to win those matches, a characteristic Wright is quickly noticing about this team and one that revealed itself again Tuesday.
“I love this team, because they just pick each other up. They never get down,” Wright said. “They never let each other get down. They’re just great.”
When Locust Grove within 19-17, Woodland reeled off four straight points, including an ace from senior Nicole Findura, to force Locust Grove coach Tom Murray to call a timeout.
When the Lady Wildcats got withing 22-20, the Lady Wolfpack got the game’s final three points to seal the match.
“I’ve always had good teams that have worked together,” Wright said. “We’ve just got a lot of good talent that’s all come together.”
Murray said that’s been the missing ingredient for Locust Grove this season.
The Lady Wildcats have displayed talent on par with several top teams — they went undefeated in weekend tournament against Dacula, Peachtree Ridge, South Gwinnett and Sprayberry — but haven’t been able to sustain that success.
“The problem we’re struggling with the most is consistency,” Murray said. “I think once we can get that down, that we can play with anybody ... we can get to a point where we’re more consistent every match that we play.”