Lady Devils rally for state volleyball berth

By LINDA YOUNKIN State Journal Sports Writer Published:

Henry Clay faced a familiar foe in the 11th Region volleyball tournament final - Dunbar, a team the Lady Devils had lost to four times during the regular season.

But it was Henry Clay that won the tournament and a trip to the state volleyball tournament which will be played Thursday and Friday at the Civic Center.

"We played a really tough schedule," Henry Clay coach Dale Grupe said. "Twenty-eight out of our 33 matches were scheduled out of region. We were trying to play a lot different schedule, a lot tougher schedule.

"I think it paid off," he added. "Even though we're 21-19, we played a lot of top 20 teams, a lot of teams in Louisville and Northern Kentucky."

In the 11th Region final the Lady Devils defeated Dunbar 27-29, 25-13, 15-12.

With the win the Lady Devils will be making their fifth trip to the state tournament in the past six years. Last year Henry Clay lost to Notre Dame in the first round at state, and HCHS graduated seven seniors off that team.

"We had a good group (coming back)," Grupe said, "but not a lot of experience. That's what made the tough schedule tougher. We didn't know how to respond being such a young team. We have five seniors, but they hadn't played a lot. We responded well."

Sacred Heart, ranked No. 1 in the state, is the favorite coming into the state tournament, followed closely by third-ranked Mercy. Other ranked teams in the field include Notre Dame, Newport Central Catholic and South Oldham.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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