Frankfort’s volleyball team came tantalizingly close to its first district win when it took Franklin County to five sets last month.

On Tuesday the Lady Panthers broke through, beating host Western Hills 3-1 (17-25, 25-10, 25-13, 25-21) for the first district victory in program history.

“The girls came out and wanted it,” FHS coach Eileen Butts said. “The first set was a little iffy, but we came out in the second set and settled in. We worked hard and got the win.

“I’m super excited. It’s our first district win in five years.”

Frankfort fielded its first varsity volleyball team in 2017 after playing a junior varsity schedule in 2016.

Butts, who has been the team’s only varsity coach, knew this group had potential.

“This is a great group of girls,” she said. “They’ve worked their rear ends off during the season and playing off season.

“This group of seniors has played club ball, and I’ve been waiting since they were freshmen to get to this point.”

Western Hills won the first set 25-17, but Frankfort built early leads in the next two sets and went on to take a 2-1 lead.

WHHS rallied in the fourth set, building a lead of 11-5. The Lady Panthers slowly chipped away at the deficit, took their first lead at 19-18 and pulled away late to clinch the win.

The Lady Wolverines didn’t play last week, forfeiting two matches because of COVID-19 protocol.

“We played in the Boyle County Invitational two weeks ago,” WHHS coach Scott Hudson said. “We’ve got some players out with COVID, but that’s not an excuse for what we did tonight. It was the same old, same old, serve receive and unforced errors.

“Frankfort came in to win the game. They never slowed down. They had a game plan, and they executed the plan efficiently.”

FHS senior Pauli Hancock has seen the volleyball team’s progress first hand, having been a member of the squad since she was a freshman.

“Our team has improved,” she said. “A lot of us play club ball, and we’re working hard in and out of season. We got our first win my first year, and now we have our first district win. That’s a big improvement.”

FHS (7-5) plays its next match Saturday in the 11th Region All “A” Classic, taking on Lexington Christian at 10 a.m. at Berea.

WHHS is 5-9, with two losses being by COVID-19 protocol forfeits. The Lady Wolverines play at home Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against Lexington Catholic.

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