By HEATHER BOATMAN, CJ Correspondent
Just 24 hours prior, the Lady Maroons had to ‘fight and claw’ to avoid elimination in the opening round of the 12th Region Volleyball Tournament in their ‘come-from-behind’ five-set win over Wayne County High School.
Last night in the 12th Region semifinals at Mercer County Senior School, Pulaski had no problems in dispensing of West Jessamine in a 25-16, 25-12, 25-21 straight set victory.
“I thought after last night we might have a little bit of a letdown, because that was a taxing match for us both mentally and physically,” said Pulaski veteran coach Teresa Combs. “But we came out ready to go tonight. Last night, I thought we played pretty well as a whole – but tonight we executed very well.”
In the first set, Pulaski jumped out to an early 8-1 lead and was able to maintain a comfortable margin en route to their 25-16 win.
Likewise in the second set, Pulaski jumped out to another 8-1 lead on the Lady Colts. And spurred by a stretch of four straight kills by Samantha Randolph, the Lady Maroons expanded their lead to 21-7 and breezed to an easy game-two win.
However, the third set was a little bit more of a struggle for the Lady Maroons, as West Jessamine took the lead early in the set.
West Jessamine held a 8-7 lead in the early goings before the Lady Maroons went on a 7-1 run, paced by two serving aces by Jessica Ping.
Pulaski looked to close out their semifinal match after expanding their third-set lead to 21-15. However, West Jessamine cut the Pulaski lead to 22-19 before Combs called time out to rally her troops for their final surge to pull out the third set by a score of 25-21.
Pulaski was led offensively by Samantha Randolph with 18 kills, 2 aces and 7 assists. Sarah Correll had 8 kills, 2 assists and 3 blocks.
Bryanna Black had 18 assists and an ace. CeCe Roberts had 2 kills and 7 assists. Jessica Ping recorded 8 kills and 4 aces. Ashtyn Lyons had 3 kills and 2 blocks, while Amber Viers was credited with an ace.
Pulaski’s semifinal win sets up a repeat of the 2011 regional finals against county school rivals, Southwestern High School. Last year, Southwestern downed the Lady Maroons en route to their fourth straight regional title.
“There is nothing we are going to do different against Southwestern,” Combs said. “We are going to go out and execute our game plan.”
“Throughout the season our game plan has never changed, we started this thing at the beginning of the season with the hopes and goals of being right where we are right now – playing in the regional championship game.”
The Lady Maroons will be making their fifth 12th Region Championship game appearance (2012, 2011, 2005, 2004, 2003), and still looking for that first regional crown.