Western Hills’ volleyball team hadn’t beaten district foe Woodford County since 2008, but that didn’t mean the Lady Wolverines were intimidated by the Lady Yellowjackets Thursday. Far from it. WHHS defeated Woodford County 25-16, 25-23, 20-25, 25-22 at Lapsley Cardwell Gymnasium. “They play with heart,” WHHS coach Kristi Buffenmyer said. “They don’t get scared. They’re not scared of the ball, they’re not scared of their opponents … I couldn’t be happier with these kids.” The Lady Wolverines (2-0) jumped on Woodford County early, grabbing a 10-point lead in the first set. They extended their advantage to 12 points before winning by nine. “The thing that scared me in the first set is we got out so quick and had that 10-point lead,” Buffenmyer said. “I was afraid they’d sit back and say ‘this is easy.’” She didn’t need to worry. “This year we’ve stepped up our game,” said WHHS junior setter Rachael Hudson. “We play our hearts out every single game. We want to win the district and get to the region.” Western Hills took an early lead in the second set, going ahead 17-10, but Woodford fought back and pulled even twice, the last time at 22-22, before WHHS pulled out the 25-23 win for a 2-0 lead. “I was very, very pleased with the first two games,” Hudson said. “We gave it all we had, and I couldn’t be more proud of my team.” Woodford, playing its first match of the season, fell behind early in the third set but rallied in the middle stages to take a three-point lead at 12-9. The Lady Yellowjackets pushed the lead to five points at 20-15 and kept the margin until the end of the set. “I give Western Hills complete props,” said first-year Woodford coach Meghan Bottom, a 2003 graduate of Franklin County High School.
“They played phenomenal. They scrapped and played their hearts out, and they showed us some things we need to do better. They played a match on Tuesday, and that allowed them to settle into a rotation. We were trying to figure things out in the first and second games.”
Woodford kept its momentum going early in the fourth set, grabbing a 15-10 advantage, but the Lady Wolverines chipped away at the lead.
WHHS took the lead at 19-18 with Ericka Bailey serving for three straight points, and the Lady Yellowjackets tied the set at 19-19 on a sideout.
Western Hills picked up its next point on another sideout, going ahead 20-19, and WHHS stayed in front the rest of the way.
“Personally I felt like after the third game we got down on ourselves a little bit,” Hudson said, “but after that you have to shake it off and go out with a bang.”
Western Hills will try to keep the momentum going today and Saturday when it plays in the Boyle County Invitational.