It is always tough to beat a good opponent once. But it is even tougher to beat the opponent a second time.
Just ask the Kentucky State Thorobrettes volleyball team.
The Thorobrettes defeated Albany State University in the semi-finals of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Thursday afternoon to advance to the championship game. But because of a double elimination format, KSU had to face ASU again in the finals after the Lady Rams beat Clark-Atlanta to set up the rematch.
If KSU won its first game against ASU it would have been crowned champions. But if ASU was to defend its conference championship it would have to beat KSU twice because of the double elimination set up.
And much to the dismay of the Thorobrettes, ASU did just that.
The Lady Rams won the first match 3-1 (30-27, 30-18, 27-30, 30-15) to stay alive, and ultimately won the second match - and the SIAC championship - 3-1 (31-29, 29-31, 30-21, 30-20).
"They came out and played tough," ASU coach Robert Skinner said of the Thorobrettes. "They played like the home school should play. They have a very good club so you can't take anything away from them. They played a very tough game. We just had to play a little bit better at times."
Playing on its own court and in front of a raucous crowd, KSU was disappointed it couldn't capitalize on its opportunity to seize the championship. Outside hitter - and the only senior on the KSU squad - Danielle Benson said the game was there for the taking and KSU just didn't make the plays the team needed to make.
"We definitely feel we're a better team," Benson said. "We just didn't do what we needed to do every time we needed to do it. We are the better team, they just happened to make the plays when they needed to."
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.