Above Photo: Region 8-AAAAAA Player of the Year Mikayla Hayden gets a kill against Lanier in the region tournament Oct. 6 at Lanier. Photo by Alicia Couch Payne
SUGAR HILL — With a regular-season like the one the Buford Wolves varsity volleyball team has had, their postseason hopes are high. The Wolves are 26-2 on their season thus far with the two losses coming from powerhouses St. Pius and North Gwinnett, both not in their classification.
Buford began its postseason Oct. 6 at the Region 8-AAAAAA tournament at Lanier High School. The Wolves’ first opponent of the region tournament was Lanier High School. Buford and Lanier have met twice in the regular season with Buford winning both times with set scores of 25-9, 25-15 and 25-10, 25-20. The Wolves’ attack was one the Longhorns just couldn’t overcome during their first postseason meeting as Buford put up set scores of 25-11, 25-11 to claim the win.
Setter Grace Adams did a great job of spreading out Buford’s offense leading to multiple Wolves with kills against Lanier. Junior Mikayla Hayden and senior Parker Venable led the offense with six kills each. Junior Kiana Polk and sophomore Sydney Austin were not far behind as they each contributed to the offense with five kills.
Region awards were handed out Oct. 6 at the tournament and Buford took home the Region 8-AAAAAA Player of the Year award with Hayden winning that honor. Three additional Wolves were recognized by being named to the All-Region team. Those players are Adams, Macy Upshaw and Ashley Sturzoiu.
Head coach Hadli Daniels isn’t hyping up her team’s postseason chances.
“The key to success for us in the postseason is to focus on our side of the net,” Daniels said. “When we are playing our game, I have seen us play some great matches, but we have also had a few matches where we beat ourselves. There are some tough teams in 6A, so I think it will come down to mental toughness and who can grind out the close matches. We cannot just expect to win matches from this point on, we have to earn each win.”
Buford will continue its quest for postseason glory in the region tournament at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 13 when the team takes on Dacula. The two met only once in the regular season with Buford coming out on top 25-16, 25-17. Should the Wolves beat Dacula, they will then play in the finals at 7:30 p.m. If they lose, they must battle their way up through the loser’s bracket.