MT. AIRY — Gainesville rallied from a set down to beat Habersham Central 3-2 and advance to the Class 6A playoffs for the first time since 2019 in a tough five-set match in the Area 8-6A tournament on Tuesday.
The Lady Red Elephants (21-24) avenged two regular season losses to the Lady Raiders (23-15) with the 13-25, 25-21, 25-11, 23-25, 15-9 victory. Gainesville had lost 6 of 7 matches to close out the regular season.
Now Gainesville will take on top-seed North Forsyth in the semifinals on Wednesday. North Forsyth (38-6) went a perfect 12-0 in 8-6A play during the regular season, including a pair of wins over the Lady Red Elephants.
Gainesville had won just one set in the two previous matches with Habersham Central and the Lady raiders opened with 25-13 win in the opening set. But the rebounded with a close 25-21 win in the second set and a dominant win in the third, 25-11. Habersham answered back to win the fourth set, 25-23. Gainesville was able to hang on for the 15-9 win in the final set.
Kerrigan Gruhn had 17 kills and 4 digs to pace the Lady Red Elephants offense. Hannah Stewart added 14 kills, two blocks, and a dig, Caroline Reisman had 12 kills and 3 digs, and Natalie Brown and Taylor Reid added 3 kills each for Gainesville.
Avery Lindsey has 42 assists and 9 digs, Jay Maldonado had 9 digs and 2 assists, Makenzy Butler had 4 digs and an assist. and Kathy Huynh added 8 digs and 2 aces for the Lady Red Elephants.