The fight the Lady Flyers brought to the third game was something Franklin County head coach Wesley Vance said he wished he could have seen sooner.
Vance said it could have made the difference in the Lady Flyers 3-0 (12-25, 12-25, 27-29) loss to Lexington Christian Academy Tuesday night at FCHS gym.
“I’ll never doubt this team’s effort,” Vance said. “It could be 24-1 whether they are up or down, they don’t have any quit in them. We had the third set, and we had a few opportunities that we let slip through our fingers and a few plays there at the end. It was a fun match. I wish the other two sets could have been like the last one. Win or lose you wanted a little more intensity, a little more focus.”
The Lady Flyers (2-1) let the first game slip away when LCA sophomore Meredith Ford drilled service aces helping her team to an 11-0 run for a 20-8 advantage.
Senior Ashleigh Luebbers hit two back-to-back kills to interrupt the Lady Eagles’ run, making the score 20-10. But a FCHS miscommunication with no one claiming the ball handed LCA another point.
FCHS was able to add the next two points before the Lady Flyers didn’t help themselves, Vance said.
The next four points were awarded to the Lady Eagles because of Franklin County errors, giving LCA a 25-12 first game win.
“It was just us not executing,” Vance said. “They are a good team, but we didn’t give ourselves a chance. We didn’t pass very well in certain areas.”
In the second game, the Lady Flyers began with a 6-3 lead with a kill by Luebbers.
The Lady Eagles (2-0) tied the game at 6-6 and again at 7-7, before three FCHS mistakes started a 15-1 run.
Vance credited LCA outside hitter senior Alli Evans as “one of the hardest and smartest hitters” the Lady Flyers will face all year.
“When they’re over six foot and that strong … she’s got that mentality that she’s going to be the deciding factor in the game,” Vance said.
LCA took the second game with a 25-12 victory, but Vance said his girls started to catch on to what Evans was doing by the third game.
“We started to catch on to her tendencies and started to turn some in on her,” he said. “Something we need to work on is team blocking. You don’t face hitters like that often. She’s one of those girls who are capable of doing that.
“We also have Ashleigh who is capable of doing that. We just have to get the passes to get her going.”
In the third game, the Lady Flyers rallied from an 11-3 deficit to tie the game at 21-21 with two aces by junior Lily Baker and a shank by Lexington Christian.
Vance said Baker’s play has improved greatly from last year, especially her blocking.
“Last year’s blocking compared to this year’s blocking, the girl (Evans) would have been hitting over her because she would have been so timid. She’s getting after it. Her timing is still a little off, but she’s working on that,” Vance said of Baker.
Junior Taylor Blackwell’s kill gave the Lady Flyers their first lead since a 2-1 advantage at the beginning of the set.
The game was tied six more times as LCA shut down three of the Lady Flyers’ match-point opportunities. The Lady Eagles took the lead at 27-26 when Blackwell returned the ball into the net.
The point made Franklin County use a timeout before tying the game at 27-27 with a kill by Luebbers.
Evans answered with a kill of her own for the one-point lead. LCA junior Sara Calhoun served an ace for the 29-27 game and match victory.
“Volleyball is one of those things where there are so many variables from game to game,” Vance said. “Going into the third set, I told them it’s the first to three and no one has three wins yet. We did what we could. We just let those few little chances slip through.”
Vance said the Lady Flyers will work to make more of their opportunities when FCHS plays next at George Rogers Clark 6 p.m. Thursday.
“Everyday these girls make me happy I’m coaching them,” he said. “This is such a different team than last year. I don’t have to get on them like I would other teams because they respond really well.”