Pulaski knocks off Wayne County

STEVE CORNELIUS I CJ

Pulaski County High School senior Peyton Randolph makes a kill in the Lady Maroons' 12th Region Tournament opening round win on Monday at the Wigwam. Pulaski County downed Wayne County 3-1 to advance to Wednesday's semifinals.

In a back and forth set that was a battle until the very end, senior Peyton Randolph got the game winning point over the Wayne County Cardinals to give her Pulaski County Maroons a 3-1 victory and advance them to the 12th Region semifinals.

Heading into the fourth set, Pulaski had just gone up 2-1 and the momentum was in their favor. However, Nicole Hesse sent a kill to open the set and the Cardinals went on to have a four-point lead early at 7-3.

The Maroons quickly came back and evened the game 9-9, after a pair of blocks by senior Madison Vacca and a kill each by Randolph and senior Kaitlyn Combs.

Pulaski then went ahead for the first time in the fourth set after back to back aces by junior Molli Nelson.

Although the Maroons took the lead, the Cardinals were right there with them. Pulaski would earn a point and lead, and Wayne would get one right back to tie up the set.

Late in the set, the Maroons kept a small by steady lead with the help of a pair of kills by junior Lindsey Horn and later a kill by Randolph.

The Cardinals cut the lead to one at 24-23 but after a back and forth intense play, Randolph shoved the ball over and out of the reach of Wayne and it hit just before the boundary line to give Pulaski a 25-23 set win and a 12th Region tournament victory.

The foundation for the win all started back in the first period where the Maroons stole all the momentum. After losing to the Cardinals early in the regular season, Pulaski came out of the game ready for action.

In fact, they stormed out of the gate as they opened with an 8-0 run with the help of three kills by Randolph and a block by Combs.

Although the Cardinals were finally able to get on the scoreboard, nothing changed and went in their direction for the remainder of the first set. Pulaski absolutely dominated the set.

Randolph made her mission clear very early on, smash the ball to the floor as many times as possible. Randolph was relentless throughout the opening set and finished it with 10 kills and an ace to help them to a 25-7 set win.

Many teams would crumble after a total collapse to start of the game, but Wayne County refused. They came back out in the second set with level heads ready for battle.

The second set was a close battle from the very start. The teams went back and forth but towards the middle of the set the Cardinals started to build up a bit of a lead with the help of kills by Macey Blevins, Sara Gregory, and Chloye Rice and an ace by Annessa Roysdon.

Pulaski continued to fight back, but Wayne was able to capitalize on several Maroons errors and Pulaski just could not recover. Wayne took the set 25-18 and evened the score at 1-1.

Like the second set, the third started out with the teams neck and neck but this time it was the Maroons that were able to pull away a little bit towards the middle of the set.

A block by senior NaKay Murray, a pair of kills by Horn and a kill by Randolph did most of the damage and put Pulaski up 20-15.

The Cardinals were able to force several errors on the Maroon side to even up the set at 21-21.

Randolph came up with back to back to back kills to put Pulaski up 24-21 and a few plays later Combs got the set winning kill to give the Maroons a 25-23 set win.

The fourth set was intense for sure, but the Maroons came out on top and will be back in action Wednesday against Mercer County in the semifinals, where they will fight for on opportunity to go to a 12th Region Tournament championship game.

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