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Commanderettes hit late-season stride again

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By Brandon Mattingly

 

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The Washington County volleyball team found its groove at the end of the 2011 season, winning seven of its final eight games, and if this past week is any indication, they’ve hit their rhythm in the late-season schedule once again.

The Commanderettes left the Rocket Invitational tournament in Rockcastle County this past weekend with a 4-1 record, sweeping their opponent in each of the four wins, while taking their lone loss in their final match against Russell County. WC has won five of its last six games overall.

“The girls played well,” said Washington County Head Coach Anne Mudd. “I would have loved for them to finish out the tourney, but I am so pleased with the way they are playing now and would love to see them finish this season on a positive note. Lord knows they deserve it.”

Washington County opened the tournament with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-7) win over tournament-hosts Rockcastle County, followed by a 2-0 (21-5, 21-6) victory over Estill County. They followed those wins up with defeats of Lincoln County 2-0 (21-8, 21-14) and Boyle County 2-0 (25-16, 25-13).

The Commanderettes’ loss to Russell County was a hard-fought match, 2-0 (27-25, 25-18), but WC was stopped short of an unblemished tournament record. Senior LeeAnn Abell was named to the all-tournament team for the Commanderettes.

Washington County also rounded out its regular season district schedule last week with a close loss to Nelson County, 3-2 (18-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-8, 15-12) and a convincing win on the road at Bardstown, 3-1 (25-19, 25-16, 22-25, 25-16).

The victory over the Lady Tigers got off to a good start for the Commanderettes, jumping out to a 6-1 lead on their way to a game one victory. Bardstown closed the gap to tie the game at 19, but WC scored the last six points for the win.

Game two was another quick start for Washington County, claiming a 12-4 lead and never looking back, but the game was highlighted by an incredible effort play by Abell and senior Emily Spaulding. Leading 18-10, Spaulding sent a return into the net and toward the floor when the Bardstown players began celebrating a much-needed point. Abell, though, suddenly dove after the ball and kept it off the ground just long enough for Spaulding to urge the ball over the net. The Lady Tigers scrambled to return to their positions, but it was the Commanderettes who went on to win the point.

Bardstown answered with a game-three win, but Washington County used a 10-3 run, including kills by junior Morgan Mann and sophomore Halie Browning and an ace by senior Samantha Mudd, to bury the Lady Tigers in game four.

The Commanderettes, who lost to Bardstown twice in the Anderson County Volley Smash in September, took both regular season district matchups between the teams. Mudd said her squad has seen enough of Bardstown to understand what it takes to win.

“Bardstown is a very competitive team and my girls know that,” she said. “I feel that my girls know that they have to come 110 percent prepared at all games now in order to get that victory.”

Washington County was on the road at Spencer County after press time on Tuesday. They host Taylor County in their regular-season finale tonight at 7 p.m.