By HEATHER BOATMAN, CJ Correspondent
For the first tim in six years, there will be a new 12th Region volleyball champion.
On Tuesday night in the opening round of the 12th Region Tournament, West Jessamine High School defeated the five-time defending 12th Region champions, Southwestern High School Lady Warriors, 3-0 (31-29, 27-25, 25-21). This was only West Jessamine’s second appearance in the 12th Region Tournament.
“I think the girls really showed up ready to play, they gave 100 percent and I could not be more proud of them,” stated coach Lady Warrior first-year coach Courtney Compton. “The girls worked hard every single point. It was just out of our hands.”
Not only have the Lady Colts not been beat in the 12th Region this season, but they have never lost a set in a game to a regional opponent and that still holds true after sending the Lady Warriors packing in the 3-0 victory.
In the first set, West gained the lead with a kill by Ashlee Rose, they were able to hold onto that lead until Southwestern tied them at six all. The score remained close the entire set with the Lady Colts holding the largest lead by four-points. Southwestern’s Katie Latham and Kasey Williams helped the keep them close with several kills apiece. There were 16 ties and seven lead changes in the first set.
The Lady Warriors held their first lead of the night at 14-13 but West quickly got the lead back at 15-14 with a kill from Emily Dean. The Lady Colts had two chances to end the set early but allowed Southwestern to score and tie the score again. West finally ended the set 31-29 thanks to an ace from Kelsey Sanders.
“Southwestern has won the region the last five years and made it to the State Tournament more than anyone,” West Jessamine coach Debbie Rose remarked. “Last year was our first year to the Region so this is still kind of new to us, but we were ready!”
There were 11 ties and eight lead changes in the second set. The largest lead obtained by either team was only three points, as the Lady Colts led at 15-12 and Southwestern led at 22-19. Both teams were unable to hold onto the lead for more than a few rallies. The Lady Warriors had the lead when the score hit the 20s, thanks to the serving of Williams. West was not far behind and they were able to tie at 25 all and surpass Southwestern with the next point with a kill by Rose. Bryanna Strunk had two blocks in efforts to gain a lead. The Lady Colts ended the set once again with an ace this one coming from Dean. West came out of the second set with a 2-0 lead and with a score of 27-25.
“In volleyball somebody gets a point each time, unlike basketball where you can hold onto the ball to kill time,” Compton remarked. “I am very proud of my seniors they both worked hard tonight and they both had an amazing senior season they were huge leaders and will be missed.”
The third set was not quiet as exciting as the Lady Colts gained the lead early in the set and held onto the whole set. At one point, West lead by seven points they did allow the Lady Warriors to come back within two but called a time out to regain focus. West ended the set at 25-21.
Sanders and Laura Bird both helped the Lady Colts with their effort on the defensive end both getting several digs to help give them the advantage throughout the game.
“We fell short of our goal last year and this year we are here to make up for it,” Rose commented. “I think that this game definitely gives us a lot of confidence moving forward in this tournament and hopefully my girls will see that they can do what they put out to do.”
The Lady Colts advance to the semifinals of the 12th Region Tournament and they played Pulaski County High School last night. The winner of this game will be in the Championship game and have a shot at going to state.
Dean led the Lady Colts in aces with three, Sanders followed with two, Rose had one and Kristen Fristoe had one as well.
Rose set the pace in kills with 14, Dean trailed with 11, Sanders had seven and Fristoe chimed in with five.
Bird led the team with 35 assist in the win.
Latham led the Lady Warriors in kills with 21, Williams followed with 12, McKenzie Jones and Katie Adams both had six, Strunk had three, and Hannah Brown had two.
Williams had the game high in aces with four and Jenny Gaunce contributed with one.
Strunk and Jones tied with two blocks.
Southwestern ended their season with a 14-18 record, while West Jessamine upped their record to 34-3 and are a perfect 15-0 against regional foes.