• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS volleyball team’s rally falls short; lose to Spencer Co.

Despite gaining a lot of momentum after coming-from-behind to win the first set, the Woodford County High School volleyball team could not overcome the tenacity of the visiting Spencer County team and lost the match 2-1 (24-26, 25-20, 25-16) at home in The Hive on Thursday, Sept. 15. While the team played some really good team volleyball in the match, a lack of energy proved costly. “We’re missing energy. Consistent energy on the court,” said Woodford head coach Meghan Bottom. “And, that determines whether or not we get the win right now. Fundamentally, we’re pretty sound and they play pretty well together, but we’re just missing that consistent energy.” With the loss, Woodford is now 12-10 overall, 4-3 in the region and 2-0 in the district. In the first set, Spencer County jumped out on top 3-1 before Woodford came back to tie it and then, behind the serving of Karigan Smith, which included two aces, took a 6-3 lead. Spencer County fought back and tied the game 6-6, then took a 10-6 lead. From that point on, the Lady Bears then held onto the lead for most of the remainder of the first set, while the Lady Jackets fought hard to keep it close. Late in the game, with Spencer County still up by six points, 23-16, Karigan went back to serve and, behind some aggressive play by Woodford, cut the lead to three points, 23-19. Spencer County then blocked a Woodford hit, but then made an attack error to make it a 24-20 ball game. Following that attack error by Spencer County, senior Caleigh Evans went back to serve and on a Woodford kill and two attack errors by the Lady Bears, Woodford got to within one point 24-23. Rattled, Spencer County called a time out to try and regroup. But, it did no good as Evans was on a roll. When the two teams took to the floor again, a Spencer County attack error, a Woodford kill and an ace by Evans ended the first set 26-24. “When Caleigh’s on serving, she is unstoppable,” said Bottom. “She has a very good, hard, flat serve. She’s very confident in her serve, and it really gets her teammates going and picks things up for us.” The second set was another close fight between the two teams, as Woodford opened up a 2-0 lead, only to see Spencer County comeback a short time later to tie it, 6-6, and then take a 7-6 lead. Spencer County held onto the lead as Woodford continued to fight back, tying the game three times, 14-14, 15-15 and 16-16. It was then that the Lady Bears took the lead again at 17-16 and did not relinquish it the rest of the way. At set point, 24-20, a Spencer County kill gave them the second set, 25-20. The third set also started out close, with Spencer County opening up a 4-1 lead, only to see Woodford fight back, tie it, 4-4, and then open a 6-4 lead. Spencer County came right back, tied it 6-6, and then took an 8-7 lead. From there, while the Lady Jackets kept it close, the Lady Bears held onto the lead the rest of the way. At set point, 24-16, an ace by Spencer County ended the set and match, 25-16. While it was a tough loss for Woodford, there were some bright spots. Along with good, strong, team play throughout the contest, Woodford’s freshman setter, Evelyn Milburn, made some heady plays, as she set the open hitters, made some digs and even got a couple kills of her own when a ball was misplayed. While only a freshman, she has a lot of untapped potential as a setter and as a team leader. “Evelyn’s playing real well,” said Bottom. “She’s still a little meek on the court, as far as leadership, but you’d expect that out of a freshman trying to lead an offense. But, she made some great plays. She’s starting to (grow) to that, and if we can get the consistency down on the serve, she’ll be good.” Another player who made some great plays in the match was defensive specialist Sophie Adams. The senior not only has a strong serve, but she was diving all over the floor making great digs, a few even one handed, to keep some plays going for the Lady Jackets. “In practice, we practice a lot of scrap plays and a lot of ‘if you have to take it with one arm’ (plays), or ‘if you have to dive and take care of the ball first’ plays,” said Bottom. “Overall, we do a really good job of doing that and Sophie’s willing to sacrifice her body to keep the ball up.”

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