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Woodward Academy pushed through battle with Riverwood into GHSA 6A round of 8

As the Georgia High School Association volleyball state championship continued, in Class 6A the Woodward Academy War Eagles hosted the Riverwood Raiders in a best of five, round of 16 match. The opening set would go in favor of the War Eagles, but they would have to battle back to win it as the Raiders jumped out early to a 4-0 lead in the set. A quick 6-2 run by the War Eagles would allow them to tie up the set 6-6 and the score would remain tight until late in the set, when Riverwood took a commanding 20-15 lead late in the set.

However, not backing down, Woodward would go on another run, this time outscoring the Raiders 10-2 in route to win set one 25-22. With set two under way, the Raiders would once again get out in front of the War Eagles, and after going up by five when taking a 14-9 lead as a Genesis Smith kill would deflect out off of Woodward, Riverwood would remain in the lead and eventually take set two 25-19 and even the match 1-1. In set three, the War Eagles would take their first early commanding lead of the match as they got out in front of the Raiders 7-2 and despite the Raiders taking a timeout to talk things over, Woodward would control the set in route to winning it 25-18, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.

In set four, the Raiders would find themselves with their backs against the wall, trailing by as many as five points early in the set, but would battle back to tie the set 15-15 and then would go up 20-17, but the War Eagles would settle in and go on a 8-1 run to secure the set 25-21 and win the match 3-1, advancing to the third round of the GHSA 6A state championship tournament. “Props to our girls today,” interim coach, Michael Ouy, who along with Coach Tad Sahara, filled in for head coach, Rhana Mitchell, said following the win, crediting the War Eagles’ players for battling through “a lot of adversity”.

Ouy added that throughout the match, the War Eagles found themselves having to make adjustments, but ultimately he and Sahara believed that the girls “did really well overall,” and they were both proud of how they performed in Saturday’s victory. Now, Woodward will set their focus on a tough Alpharetta team, just two years removed from their 2020 state title win and Ouy and Sahara both believe that the War Eagles simply need to “keep it one day at a time” as they prepare for the round of eight matchup. “Work on the little things, keeping our defense locked in and steady,” Ouy said, adding that Saturday proved to the players that they are capable of competing “at the highest level” and hopes it helps with their confidence down the stretch.


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