By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
After taking down Garrard County by a 3-0 margin (25-13, 25-14, 25-10) on Tuesday night at Pulaski County High School, the Pulaski County Lady Maroons will get another crack at West Jessamine.
The Lady Maroons, who fell to the Lady Colts by a 3-0 tally (25-22, 25-18, 25-19) on August 31st, will look to avenge that loss with a victory in the semifinals of the 12th Region Volleyball Tournament.
Veteran Pulaski County head coach Teresa Combs, who saw her team move to 24-10 on the year with the victory, was relieved to get that first tournament game out of the way.
“The first game of the district and region is the most difficult – everyone has jitters, we haven’t been on the floor, and then we’re sitting and watching other games before us,” began Combs. “We were flat tonight, and there’s no doubt about it. I thought we turned it around and did what we needed to do.”
Just as Combs said, the Lady Maroons did come out flat in the opening set against the Lady Lions of Garrard County. The score would go back and forth in the early portion of the game until a 4-0 run by Pulaski County allowed them to distance themselves to win by a 25-13 margin.
Set number two, just like the first set, was close early on. The Lady Maroons would take the lead for good at 10-9 and never look back, winning the set by a score of 25-14.
Game three would not be close at all, as the Lady Maroons took the lead at 1-0 and would never lose it. Pulaski County, paced by a 7-0 run early in the set, won the third game by a 15-point margin at 25-10.
Lady Maroon senior Samantha Randolph led the way with a match-high 11 kills. Randolph, who was named the 12th Region Player of the Year, also had 2 aces, 4 blocks, and 10 assists.
Jessica Ping chimed in with 7 kills, while CeCe Roberts, Ashtyn Lyons, and Chelsea Smith all had 3 kills apiece. Katie Dick finished with a club-high 4 aces, while Alyssa Black tallied 12 assists in the victory.
The Lady Maroons, after the opening round, are now one of four teams remaining in the tournament, along with West Jessamine, Casey County, and Wayne County. Wayne County and Casey County will play in Wednesday’s opening game before the Lady Maroons and West Jessamine play.
Combs knows that her team will have a tough match-up against the Lady Colts in the second round, but she is looking forward to getting another crack at the team who defeated them, 3-0, in late August.
“Obviously our side of the bracket is pretty stacked, but we’re used to that,” told Combs. “It’s not uncommon for us to have two really tough games going into the championship. Every game we have to take care of business. We played West Jessamine once already, and they dealt us a loss. We’ve got to come out and execute our game plan.”
West Jessamine (34-3) advanced to the semifinal round after defeating Southwestern in the nightcap by a score of 3-0 (31-29, 27-25, 25-21). The first round loss by Southwestern ended their streak of five consecutive regional championships.
The West Jessamine-Pulaski County match was played last night at Pulaski County High School. The winner of that match will earn a spot in tonight’s championship game, which will be held at 6:30 p.m.
Look for details of the Lady Maroons’ match-up with West Jessamine in tomorrow’s sports section.
Follow Michael Childers on Twitter: @GetChili22