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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Sports Writer
With the final games of the regular season approaching, the Washington County Commanderettes volleyball team has shaped themselves into a formidable competitor. Although Nelson County finished with a perfect 6-0 district record, WC was still in position to finish with a winning record in the district and was setting itself up for a strong postseason when it faced the Bethlehem Banshees for the second time within a week.
The Commanderettes played well at the net and hit well from the middle and outside positions, but the Banshees took the first game 25-17. WC made some defensive adjustments in the second game and came away with a 25-21 win to tie the match at 1-1.
The third game wasn’t without some controversy as two instances caused a four-point shift in Bethlehem’s favor, and it won the game 25-22, beating WC 2-1.
“We got into some ruts out of serve receive,” said WC head volleyball coach Brett Hudson.
With the loss, the Commanderettes fall to 3-3 in the district with a first-round tournament game against Bethlehem slated for the week of Oct. 13.
“All in all I’m pleased with the way our girls played,” said WC assistant volleyball coach Todd Osbourne. “We’ve come a long way in the last few weeks of the season. We’re playing good volleyball right now and looking forward to continued improvements as we prepare for the district tournament.”
Despite winning the first game 21-17, the JV Commanderettes lost both games two and three 21-14 to the Banshees.
“We didn’t pass the ball very well over the three games,” said Hudson. “We are simply not giving ourselves enough opportunities to get good sets and hit the ball down.”
Hudson grows worried when the JV team does not pass the ball well since so many of the JV players also see action on the varsity squad.
Hudson added, “Bethlehem’s JV played a solid game, but we made them look a lot better by sending easy balls over the net.”
The WC freshmen squad was swept by Bethlehem, which won 2-0 (21-9, 21-3).
“We have got to find another gear”, Hudson told his freshman team. He added that the freshman team has learned a lot about rotations this year and has done well at learning their responsibilities on the court.
“We just need to play the game a little faster and with a little more energy.”
The WC varsity and JV squads next took on the Lady Rebels of Boyle County in Danville on Thursday, Oct. 2.
The Commanderettes started off strong in the first game and built a 19-13 lead but some minor miscues led to WC giving up 12 straight points to lose 25-19.
Game two saw each team shift momentum back and forth, but the Commanderettes held on to win 25-23 and knot the score at one all.
Boyle County got off to a 6-0 start in game three, but Washington County played hard and took game three 25-13 to win the match 2-1.
Katherine Fields played one of her best matches of the year, while Clare Smith played well at both the net and on the back row with four kills, 18 points and six blocks. She also went 27 for 28 from the service line.
“Clare has really stepped up her game over the past two to three weeks and is really playing well for us now,” said Osbourne.
Morgan Thomas is also getting stronger following her injury, totaling 4 kills, 13 points, 3 blocks and 5 deflections.
Amber Taylor also had a strong offensive night recording 10 kills, 16 points and three blocks while going 10 for 10 from the service line with two aces.
The Washington County JV team swept Boyle County 2-0, winning game one 21-3 and game two 21-7.
“Our JV team played really well,” added Osbourne. “This was probably one of the most fundamentally sound matches our JV team has played all year.”
The Commanderettes are heading into the final week of the regular season with an away game against Taylor County on Oct. 7 and finishing up the season at home at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 against Marion County.