The Pulaski County High School volleyball fought hard but just fell short in a 3-1 loss to the West Jessamine Colts last night in the 12th Region Tournament championship match.
“When this season started, nobody gave us any chance of doing anything,” said Pulaski head coach Teresa Combs. “Basically, we have been looked at as the fifth of sixth team in the region all season long. I think that speaks volumes about these girls and what they wanted. They wanted to show that they were worthy to be here, and they are, and they worked their tails off to get here. I can’t say enough about them because we have changed things, done things, moved things around, made them feel very uncomfortable and they dealt with. They embraced it because it is what our team needed. Tonight I though once again we came out very focused.”
The championship match was a battle from the very start. The teams went back and forth for majority of the opening set as there were six lead changes.
Late in the first set the Maroons slightly pulled away for a small lead on West Jessamine. They forced several Colt errors late in the set and capitalized on them.
Senior Maroon Madison Vacca put down two of the Maroons final three points with a block and then kill that closed the set with Pulaski on top 25-20.
The Maroons opened up the second set with two straight kills from senior Peyton Randolph to take early lead. However, whenever West Jessamine took their first lead, they ran away with it.
The Colts went on a 12-1 run early to put them up ten points at 15-5. During the run, Ashleigh Messick, Emily Krintz and Brooke Hager all had a pair of kills each to lead the charge for West Jessamine.
Later in the set, Pulaski went on an 11-0 run of their own to retake the lead late in the set. Randolph and Vacca each had a pair of kills and junior Molli Nelson had an ace to help their Maroons to the 20-18 lead.
From there the teams battled back and forth but after a Pulaski error and a set ending kill by Krintz, West Jessamine evened the match at 1-1 after a 27-25 set victory.
Like the previous two sets, the teams looked dead even for majority of the third set. In the second half of the set, Josie Disponette went on a tear for her Colts to help them slowly pull away from the Maroons.
Disponette racked up four kills late in the set to help give West Jessamine some momentum and with the help of a pair of aces by Hager and Snowden, and back to back kills by Messick to close the set, the Colts took the set 25-19 and took a 2-1 lead.
West Jessamine started off the fourth set with a 4-0 lead after a Pulaski error, a kill by Hager and back to back aces by Sydney Collins.
A kill each by Randolph, senior Kaitlyn Combs and junior Lindsey Horn put the Maroons in the lead 7-6.
Later in the set the Colts went on a 7-1 lead to slightly pull away from Pulaski. A kill each by Krintz, Messick and Hager and an ace by Ava Gdovka put West Jessamine up 18-12.
Although the Maroons were down late, they battled back one again by forcing and capitalizing on multiple Colt errors and had a pair of kills by Horn that cut the West Jessamine lead to just one at 23-22.
A kill Disponette and a Pulaski error finished off the final set with the Colts ahead 25-22, giving them a 3-1 victory, a 12th Region Championship, and a spot in the Kentucky state tournament.
Although the Maroons did not close off the season exactly how they wanted, they finished off a great season as 12th Region Tournament runner ups.
“We were ready to go but unfortunately couldn’t withstand,” said coach Combs. “Obviously, West Jessamine is a great team and we wish them luck in the state tournament. I’m just proud of our girls because we came in knowing that we belong here, and they continued the rich tradition of Pulaski volleyball and I’m proud of them.”
As Pulaski’s season comes to a close, they will see nine senior teammates graduating this year which are Kaitlyn Combs, NaKay Murray, Jazmyn Oakes, Bailey Putteet, Peyton Randolph, Emily Simpson, Erinn Speaks, Madison Vacca, and Allee Wesley.
“We have nine seniors so that’s a ton of seniors,” said coach Combs. “There is lots of room at the table next season for sure. These girls have been good leaders. They have wanted to embrace the younger teammates and bring them in. They have done very well, and I can’t be more proud of a group of young women who want to do well. They want what’s best for each other and we’re going to miss them.”
Local players selected to the 12th Region All-Season first team were Southwestern’s Grace Taylor and Pulaski County’s Peyton Randolph. Named to the All-Season second team were Somerset’s Trinity Burkett and Southwestern’s Emmie Vanover.
Local players named to the 12th Region All-Tournament Team were Pulaski County’s Peyton Randolph, Molli Nelson and Lyndsey Parmelee; and Southwestern’s Kami Wilson and Payton Brock.