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WC volleyball moves on to second round of district tournament

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By Brandon Mattingly

 

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The season rolls on for the Commanderrette volleyball team (15-16), who advanced to the second round of the 19th District tournament on Monday night.

Washington County, the four seed, took on Bardstown, the five seed, in the lone first-round game of the newly-constructed five-team district tournament, and WC came away with a 3-1 (25-17, 25-27, 25-20, 25-19) victory.

“The first game we came out ready to play and were on top of it,” said Washington County Head Coach Anne Mudd. “Midway through the second game, I don’t know, I feel like they got into a little funk, but I’m hoping they worked through that tonight.”

Game one was all Washington County after Bardstown claimed an early 3-0 lead behind an ace by sophomore Leanda Cosby. A 5-0 Commanderette run, followed by another run of eight-straight points moments later gave Washington County a 14-8 lead and they didn’t look back on their way to a comfortable game-one win that was capped off by a powerful hit from junior Morgan Mann that the Lady Tigers couldn’t return.

It appeared game two was heading in the same direction, with Washington County using a 5-0 run to help build an 11-5 lead, before a 3-0 spurt by Bardstown, including a big kill by senior Shelby Kimball. Still, the Commanderettes had the game in hand, pulled out to a 24-18 lead, but the Lady Tigers fought back as sophomore Bre Maddox served her team on a 6-0 run to tie the game. Washington County briefly regained the lead, but Bardstown scored the next three points to even the match at a game each.

“At that point, I told the girls that Bardstown wanted the game more than we did,” Mudd said. “It was a confidence thing. I wanted them to know it’s fine to make a mistake, but you move on and get better. We came out of it, but I definitely think we could’ve played better.”

The Lady Tigers rode that momentum through the beginning of game three, scoring the first four points, but the Commanderettes responded with five of their own. The game kept the back-and-forth pace until an 18-18 tie, when a Mann tip over the net and an ace by senior LeeAnn Abell sparked WC on a 7-2 run to finish the game, which was capped off by a Johanna Spalding serve that Bardstown couldn’t handle.

Washington County got an early 4-1 lead in the fourth game and never surrendered it, even though the Lady Tigers stayed within striking distance throughout. The Commanderettes led 16-13, before recording three-straight points to take a comfortable lead. Three of the next four points went to the Lady Tigers, but they were unable to put a run together to close the gap, and Washington County celebrated a first-round win as a Bardstown serve went long.
The Commanderettes took on Bethlehem (20-3) in the second round on Tuesday after press time. The winner is scheduled to meet the winner of Nelson County (26-9) vs. Thomas Nelson (18-17) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Bardstown High School.

WC topped Taylor County in their regular season finale, 2-1 (19-25, 25-12, 25-19), by gaining early leads and putting the pressure on the Lady Cardinals throughout the match.

One of those early leads include game one, with the Commanderettes taking an 8-4 advantage on a well-placed tap over the net by senior Emily Spaulding. Taylor County chipped away at the lead, however, and eventually overtook WC with four-straight points to push the score to 19-16 Taylor County. The Lady Cards rode the momentum on their way to a game-one victory, but the Commanderettes responded.

Trailing 4-1, senior Samantha Mudd served WC to a 7-0 run to jump out front, before senior LeeAnn Abell took over the serve for another seven-consecutive points, a 14-1 altogether. Leading 15-5, Washington County never looked back, cruising to a lopsided game-two win.

The tiebreaker was a back-and-forth battle that saw runs from both sides. With the Lady Cards coming off a five-point stretch to take a 14-13 lead, the Commanderettes strung a series of points together at the most crucial time of the match, scoring seven of the next eight points, topped off by a kill by sophomore Halie Browning. Nursing a 24-19 lead, junior Jessica Foster served up the final point and Mann finished it off with a strong kill at the net.

The Commanderettes also won their regular-season road finale last Tuesday at Spencer County, 2-0 (25-17, 25-16).