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In a back-and-forth affair against Blue Mountain Conference powerhouse, Greyhounds adjusted at net to secure win.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Gaston senior Maya Rosenberg rises up for the kill in the quarterfinal matchup against Stanfield. Gaston defeated Stanfield 3-2 to advance to the semifinals.

Gaston advanced past the quarterfinals of the 2A state bracket for the second straight year with a back-and-forth victory over Stanfield 3-2 (25-19, 12-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-13) on Nov. 4.

There were highs and lows for the Greyhounds, but ultimately they persevered and came through in a clutch fifth set to advance to the semifinals. The final kill of the match came via a tip past the Stanfield blockers. Gaston found repeated success with that tactic throughout the game, but according to Gaston head coach Charity Hall, that wasn't always the plan.

"My game plan was to make them move," Hall said after the Stanfield victory. "Every single time we had been hitting at them pretty hard the whole game and they were ready for it. We had to force them to come forward to start hitting at them again … we really wanted to try and mix it up on them so we went with that."

Another crucial element of the game was the play of Greyhounds on court being buoyed by positive energies from the sideline, according to Hall.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Gaston senior Ally Lazott gets the kill against Stanfield in the 2A state quarterfinals. Gaston advanced to the semifinals, but was defeated by Monroe."They feed off of any kind of negative or positive energy, kids in general," Hall said. "I really wanted to be that person for them, so when they are like, 'Oh no, I don't know what to do,' and they look at me and I have a smile on my face, I'm like, 'You got it, it's fine. Settle down, get one pass.' That's exactly what we did, just being that person for them."

That positive energy kept the team from wilting in a fifth set that saw them start off at a deficit, and what allowed them to overcome a resilient Tigers offense down the stretch.

Gaston couldn't make another run to a state title game. The team was defeated by Monroe 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-17) at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 4, marking the first time Gaston was bested by a 2A team all season. The Greyhounds (21-4) will face off against Culver (18-7) in the third-place matchup on Nov. 5.


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