By Steve Cornelius, Michael Childers
The Southwestern High School volleyball team won their fifth consecutive district title last night at Monticello High School, after they downed both Monticello High School and Wayne County High School. This year’s 48th District Volleyball Tournament was played in a single night, forcing the Lady Warriors to play back-to-back games on the night.
Southwestern downed Monticello 25-3, 25-7, 25-6 in their first game of the night and downed Wayne County in the finals by a score of 25-14, 25-18, 25-11.
In the Monticello game, the Lady Warriors were led by Erin Cottrell with 10 kills. Kelsie Adams had 6 kills, Katie Latham had 3 kills, Samantha Fitzgerald had 3 kills and Brooklynn Jamison had 2 kills. Kari Popplewell had 7 aces, Chelsey Mitchell had 4 aces, McKayla Wilson had 3 aces, Kelsie Adams had 2 aces and Katie Adams had 2 aces.
In the Wayne County game, the Lady Warriors’ offense was again led by Cottrell with 15 kills and a block. Kelsie Adams had 9 kills and 4 aces. Fitzgerald had 3 kills and 2 blocks. Hannah Brown had 2 kills and 2 blocks. Popplewell had 2 kills and Bryanna Strunk had 2 blocks. Mitchell served up 4 aces, Kelsie Adams had 4 aces and Wilson had 3 aces.
The Lady Warriors will now advance to the 12th Region Tournament, which will be played at Mercer County High School next week. The Lady Warriors go into the 12th Region tourney as heavy favorites, after capturing the past four straight regional crowns.
“It is tough going into a tournament as favorites,” Lady Warrior head coach Skip Cottrell warned. “I told the girls before the district tournament, that not a single player in this region has ever played in the state tournament, and every team in every game will be gunning for us in every set and every point.”
“We are not taking anything for granted and we can’t depend on what has happened in the past,” Cottrell added. “Winning this district is a huge honor for us.”
McKayla Wilson, Kelsie Adams, Kari Popplewell and Erin Cottrell were named to the 48th District All-Tournament Team.
Both the Southwestern girls and boys soccer teams came into last night’s 48th District Tournament Championship having not one a district title since the 2008 season.
But that all changed last night, as the Warriors and Lady Warriors both came away with championship trophies in their respective tournaments last night at the Plains.
The Lady Warriors kicked off the twin bill with a 7-0 victory over Wayne County, while the Warrior boys downed Monticello by a score of 5-0.
Sophomore Hanna Ratliff paced the Lady Warriors with four goals in the seven-goal victory over the Lady Cardinals. Ratliff tallied one in the first half and tallied the remaining three in the second half in a game that saw Southwestern dominate.
Nicole Upchurch put the Lady Warriors up 1-0 in the 20th minute of the contest. Katherine Citak and Gracie Curry chipped in with second half goals.
With the victory, Nick Stringer earned his first district title as the Lady Warrior coach, as did all the girls on his team.
“It’s a good feeling,” began Stringer. “I looked at the girls before the game and asked them if any of them had won a district title before. None of them had, so all the girls were excited.”
Upchurch, Citak, Ratliff, and Dylana Fothergill were named to the All-Tournament team.
Southwestern, now 7-11 on the year, will return to action in next week’s 12th Region Tournament.
“It’s a tough region with Boyle County, West Jessamine, and East Jessamine,” stated the second-year Southwestern coach. “We played all of those teams, so we’re not going to have any surprises.”
Sean McBride, who is in his third season as the boys coach, also notched his first-ever district title as a head coach, as his team downed the Trojans of Monticello by a score of 5-0 for a well-earned championship trophy.
“These kids have trained hard all-year, from June on,” stated McBride, who saw his team move to 13-5 on the season with the victory. “They deserve it because of the amount of work they’ve put in. I’m really happy for the seniors, as well as the entire group.”
The Warriors jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute of play, when Chris Orantes scored his first of two goals. Annan Prabhu gave Southwestern a two-goal advantage at the intermission with a goal just before halftime.
Orantes, Pedro Herrera, and Kagan Brainard, each tallied a goal in the second half, pacing the ‘Blue and Orange’ to a five-goal win over the Trojans.
Zack Stolze, Jordan Jones, Herrera, and Brainard, were all named to the All-Tournament team.
McBride feels his team can make some noise in the 12th Region Tournament, if they show up ready to play.
“We’re going to have to play good,” McBride told. “It’s going to be a tough tournament, so we’ve got to play good. We’re a very dangerous team when we play good. We’re going to have to take advantage of opportunities much better than we have been.”