Last night the Pulaski County Maroons came back after being down eight points late in the third set to get a 3-0 victory over the Mercer County Titans and advance to the 12th Region Championship match.
After losing the first two sets, the Titans came out of the gate in the third set ready to play. They started 5-0 and kept the Maroons down.
Pulaski fought and fought throughout the set but just could not rebound from the tough start. They would cut the game to three or four, then the Titans would earn their points right back.
Late in the set, Mercer seemed to have total control of the set as they only needed one point to win it and the Maroons were down eight at 24-16.
Pulaski began to force some mistakes on the Titans side of the ball. In fact, they forced seven errors in a row to cut the Mercer lead to just one point.
The Titans had the chance to take the set as the were up 24-23, but senior NaKay Murray evened up the score with a block.
Just after Murray’s block, junior Lindsey Horn sent down a hard kill off the assist from senior Peyton Randolph to give the Maroons their first lead of the set at 25-24.
Mercer County was able to even the score again but back to back blocks by Horn and then senior Madison Vacca finished off the 11-1 run and gave Pulaski the 3-0 victory to send them to the Region finals after a miraculous third set comeback.
“You know what, we have not peaked until right now and I’m so proud of them,” said Pulaski head coach Teresa Combs. “They could have hung their heads, we could have been done, but what an awesome comeback. What an awesome comeback. We weren’t kicking on all cylinders tonight, but we found a way to win and that’s my team. I’m very proud of them.”
Besides a phenomenal comeback in the third, the Maroons were able to set the tone early in game with an outstanding performance in the first set.
Junior Molli Nelson opened the first set with a kill, then assisted Randolph on four kills, and senior Kaitlyn Combs on one to help Pulaski to a 12-1 run to open the set.
Randolph did not just dominate the early portion of the first set, she floored six more balls to finish the set with 10 kills and help the Maroons 25-17 set win.
“We came out really strong tonight,” said coach Combs. “As the set went on, we kind of let things go and weren’t quite as aggressive but we had a few more serving errors and hitting errors. We pushed on and we play tomorrow so I’m excited.”
The second set was a compete battle. The highest lead of the set was just four points and that was the first four of the set.
The Maroons started the set 4-0 after four straight kills by Randolph. Mercer fought back with multiple kills of their own by Jaclyn Devine, Jai Piazza, and Hanna Blevins to eventually tie up the set 8-8.
From there on, there was not a lead of more than a single point until the very end of the set when Pulaski capitalized on several Titan errors to take the set 25-22.
Pulaski County will face off with West Jessamine on Thursday, Oct. 31, for the 12th Region Volleyball Tournament title on the line.