• Thomas Mims, Sports Writer

Woodford’s Finest- Part four in a series honoring the best Woodford County teams that have competed

The next entry in the Sun’s ongoing “Woodford’s Finest” series is the 2004 Woodford County High School volleyball team. This team was an easy choice as the Lady Yellow Jackets’ volleyball program has not advanced to an 11th Region championship in the years since, and the only other state tournament appearance for the team was the 2002 team that competed in the 7th Region. The 2004 team finished the season with an opening round loss in the state tournament to South Oldham, a team the 2019 volleyball Jackets will now see regularly as a member of the 8th Region. Teams don’t succeed without a pinch of tenacity. The 2004 WCHS volleyball team had more than a pinch. The team entered the state tournament with a 31-10 record following both a 38th District and 11th Region championship. When the Lady Jackets fell behind Paul Laurence Dunbar 7-2 in a third, decisive set in the 11th Region’s first round, they used that tenacity to fight back and win the set 25-21. The key player sparking the rally was Kari Shipp. When asked where her motivation came from in the critical frame, the senior leader told the Sun’s Forrest Rutherford, “Honestly when this girl on the other team started talking trash to me.” This was a theme for that particular edition of WCHS volleyball. After an 11 point run was the catalyst for their win over Henry Clay in the 11th Region championship, tournament MVP Lindsey Coon said, “Their fans got us fired up.” That quote came after Coon had already fought through the championship match with a knee injury she sustained during the semifinals against Lexington Christian. “Sometimes you just have to suck up the pain and do what’s best for the team,” Coon said of her championship will. The team would bow out in the first round of the state tournament to South Oldham with a 25-20, 25-18 loss despite the best efforts of Shipp, Coon, and All-Region selection Danielle Smith. At the time, Rutherford noted how the team’s “forecast (was) bright for next year,” the team and program would never quite reach the heights of 2004 again. Perhaps a move away from the 11th Region and regular state qualifiers Henry Clay and Dunbar (the two have combined to win every 11th Region championship since 2006) will be just what the WCHS volleyball program needs to get back to a state tournament.

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