No biggie: Northwest volleyball ready for Sweet 16 match today

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The Northwest Whitfield High School volleyball team travels to Woodward Academy at 3:330 p.m. for a Sweet 16 match in the Class 4A playoffs.

Northwest Whitfield High School volleyball coach Kelsey Ikerd hopes the Lady Bruins won't overthink their Class 4A Sweet 16 playoff match today at Woodward Academy in College Park.

Northwest travels for the best-of-five match at 5:30 p.m. in a win or go home situation.

"This is what you prepare for and play the whole season for," Ikerd said. "We have to quit putting so much pressure on ourselves, because it's really not that big of a deal. We've been trying to focus on and preach about just getting the next point. If we can get all of the next points then we will win."

The Lady Bruins defeated Woodward Academy a few weeks ago at the Blessed Trinity Catholic High School tournament in Roswell, but Woodward was missing its senior class of six players who were on a trip.

"We got some more film since the film we had basically wasn't worth anything," Ikerd said. "Looking at it, I still think they are a beatable team. They match up with us personnel-wise. They serve well, we serve well. They pass well, we pass well.

"I think what makes us a little stronger is that we have multiple people who can produce offense. We all hit well, and I think that's what makes us a little bit special because they can't bunch up on just one person."

Ikerd said her players are focusing on making the most out of the situation, despite what may happen during the match.

"We don't always have to hit harder, we have to hit smarter," she said. "We will save energy and it will make us more effective. We've been working on awarding points for things such as effort and communication and good touches in practice. If we can put all those things together, that's the recipe for a win."

As always during the playoffs, Ikerd said she and her players are excited.

"I told them at practice to not make this our last practice," she said. "We're ready."

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