Before Wednesday night’s match, the Lady Flyers prepared to face a Woodford County team that they weren’t supposed to top.
Franklin County couldn’t beat them in the regular season and now had to face the Lady Jackets in the finals of the 41st District volleyball tournament at Franklin County High School.
But FCHS took on the underdog role and fought gamely to a 1-3 (23-25, 25-27, 25-19, 21-25) loss against the Lady Jackets, which coach Wesley Vance said he “couldn’t be more proud of.”
“We knew coming in that they had big hitters and they were aggressive,” Vance said. “We did a great job of counterattacking. We hit the ball well up and back down again. Defensively, if we were near it, we got it up. Just a few points here and there we didn’t make. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
WCHS (19-15, 4-0) defeated the Lady Flyers twice earlier this season on Aug. 30 and Sept. 20 in two close 3-1 matches. Wednesday’s matchup was no different. In the first game, senior Morgan Hanna opened up serving three aces and giving an early lead to the Lady Flyers.
FCHS (20-14, 3-2) led until Lady Jacket junior Leah Brown hit a service ace for the go ahead point. The Lady Flyers tied the game five times before Woodford went on a 5-0 run. But down 24-19, FCHS brought the game back into reach on the aces of sophomore Lily Baker. A kill from junior Raley Smarr gave the Lady Jackets the narrow 25-23 win.
In the second game, Woodford County got off to a slow start yet again down 7-1 early. The Lady Jackets came back quickly to tie the game 11-11 and then seven more times after. Tied at 25-25, senior Lara Garmon hit a kill for WCHS. The Lady Jackets won the second game 27-25.
Like the first and second games, FCHS started with the lead again. But this time they kept it from start to finish taking the third 25-19.
“They rebound,” Vance said. “They know them and know how they play, but that doesn’t factor into being intimidated by them. We liked being the underdog and played loose. We were flying around.”
The Lady Flyers didn’t let up in the fourth game either. FCHS was down most of the game, but a kill from junior Ashleigh Luebbers tied it at 20 all. But the serving of Smarr sealed the game victory 25-21 and the match for the Lady Jackets. Smarr was named district tournament most valuable player.
Those named to the all-district tournament team were seniors Brooklyn Etherington and Caitlin Mullins from Western Hills, seniors Marybeth Mucci and Lauren Colston from Franklin County, and junior Alex Tipton and senior Lara Garmon from Woodford County.
Both Woodford County and Franklin County move onto the regional tournament, which begins next week at Madison Southern High School. The tournament schedule will be decided in a meeting on Sunday.