BEREA – Nerves were a factor early for Franklin County’s volleyball team Monday night in the 11th Region Tournament.
Determination entered the picture in the third game.
“We scored more points in the third game than we did the first two combined,” FCHS coach Wesley Vance said after Henry Clay defeated the Lady Flyers 25-7, 25-8, 25-20 at Madison Southern High School.
“In our region Henry Clay is at the top. We should have taken the third game from them. We just fell a little short.”
With the score 9-7 in Henry Clay’s favor in the first game, the Lady Devils closed with a 16-0 run to capture the game.
In the second game Henry Clay was leading 8-4 when Elle Barnett served for five straight points and a 13-5 lead.
The Lady Devils had another 5-0 run, going ahead 19-6, and FCHS didn’t get closer than 13 points the rest of the game.
It was Franklin County that took the early advantage in the third game, scoring the first two points and going out to a 3-1 lead.
“I think the girls just decided they were going to play,” Vance said. “They were a little tight in the first two games. Henry Clay dropped a few good shots and we tightened up.”
That changed in the third game. Henry Clay battled back to take the lead at 9-8, but FCHS stepped up and regained its advantage.
The Lady Flyers went ahead 16-13, matching their largest lead of the game.
“We had more touches on blocks, and our timing on blocks was better,” Vance said of the third game. “That helped our defense, and all year defense has been what makes us tick.
“Their confidence shot way up, and they decided they weren’t going down without a fight.”
Henry Clay pulled even late in the game and the two teams were tied three times, the last at 20-20. Elizabeth Combs served out the game for the Lady Devils, giving them the win.
“They’re young, but they probably have as much volleyball experience as we do,” Vance said of Henry Clay.
“I coached some of those girls when they were 13 years old, and they were playing two years before that.”
Henry Clay (21-16) plays Dunbar in Wednesday’s first semifinal game at 6 p.m. Dunbar defeated Madison Southern 25-7, 25-5, 25-7 in Monday’s first match.
The tournament continues with two more first-round matches tonight. Madison Central and Scott County play at 6 p.m., followed by Woodford County and Tates Creek at 7. The winners of those matches will play in Wednesday’s second semifinal at 7.
The championship match will be Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Franklin County ends its season at 20-16.
“I’m just proud,” Vance said. “The girls had a good year, and they decided if they were going to lose it would be on their terms.
“We have six seniors who played their last game tonight. They’re a special group, and some of them have been playing together for a long time. I’m going to miss the way they play and them as people.”
This year’s seniors are Carrie Arrastia, Lauren Colston, Morgan Hanna, Marybeth Mucci, Cara Steitz and Angela Wickman.