Franklin County volleyball coach Wesley Vance wasn’t sure what to expect from his team in Tuesday’s opener against Western Hills.
Western Hills volleyball coach Kristi Buffenmyer was expecting what she’d seen in pre-season scrimmages.
Turns out Vance was pleasantly surprised as the Lady Flyers defeated WHHS 25-16, 25-16, 25-22 at FCHS.
“Western Hills lost a lot of players from last year,” Vance said, “and we lost a lot of players from last year. I didn’t know what to expect. They’re a good team, and they’re going to get their wins this year.
“I’m just so happy with how we played. We haven’t played since the Bluegrass State Games. That was about two weeks ago, and I thought we’d be a little rusty before the match.”
The first game was close throughout, and the two teams were tied at 12-12. FCHS gradually pulled away, and Lily Baker served for the last four points of the game.
The Lady Flyers jumped out to an early lead in the second game, going ahead 7-1. Franklin County led by as many as 11 points before Western Hills picked up its play late to make the final score 25-16.
“We played really well last Tuesday against Henry County in a scrimmage,” Buffenmyer said, “and we played well in our other scrimmage.
“Tonight we weren’t talking or moving, and we literally let Ashleigh Luebbers completely dominate. She had a great game, and so did their setter, (Cristy) Gonzalez.”
Luebbers’ net play was crucial to FCHS, especially in the third game when the Lady Wolverines went ahead 7-1.
“My first year here she was a sophomore,” Vance said of Luebbers, now a senior. “I don’t think she’d seen a quick set. She’s grown so much as a hitter and a leader. It’s nice having her at the net.”
FCHS took its first lead in the third game when Taylor Blackwell served for eight straight points. The Lady Flyers went from a 12-7 deficit to a 15-12 lead during the run, and they never trailed again.
“This team has a good knack of not panicking,” Vance said. “They’re so loose. They enjoy being on the court, playing with each other.
“It’s not a big deal to them if they’re down a few points. They just relax and play. It was our errors at the start of the third game. At one time they had eight points and we had six errors.”
Franklin County cleaned up its play after that to close out the match in three games.
Luebbers is one of five seniors for FCHS this year. The others are Gonzalez, Lexie Arnold, Beth Barker and Elaine Cecil.
“They all did a wonderful job,” Vance said.
Western Hills, which graduated six seniors off last year’s team, has five seniors this season — Abbey Sheets, Megan Cook, Devon Edwards, Aleesha Ailiff and Sarah Robinson.
“We’ve got a lot of games coming up,” Buffenmyer said. “Right now we’re struggling to find a way to work together. We’re replacing a lot of seniors and we have a new setter, a new offense.”
Franklin County and Western Hills return to action Thursday. WHHS is hosting Anderson County, and the Lady Flyers will host Collins.
To see a photo gallery of the game click here.