September 23, 2013

Lady Jaguars make it five straight

After dropping first set, North Laurel rallies to down Jackson County

By Mitch Howard
Sports Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Winning a fifth straight game makes North Laurel coach Haley Ratliff happy, but not satisfied.

“We’re back to where we started. The first game we came out dead. The second game was probably our best one. The third and fourth games were still a little rocky. They still aren’t where I want them to be yet,” Ratliff said.

The Lady Jaguars had won nine straight sets before dropping the first set to Jackson County. They were coming off straight set wins over Bell County and Leslie County. North Laurel lost the first set to Jackson County 25-21, then controlled the next three sets 25-15, 25-20, 25-16.  They were trailing 19-15 in the third set before a rally with Daylen Gilbert at the serve.

“Daylen came out and played well. She was in the starting rotation at the beginning of the year, but she sprained her ankle in Corbin. We have slowly worked her back in,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff also saw a strong effort Thursday from Miranda Browning.

“Miranda has come a long way these last two weeks. She’s been blocking and killing it. She’s just getting a lot better,” Ratliff said.

North Laurel will try to keep the winning streak alive this weekend at the Rocket Invitational at Rockcastle County. Other teams in the tournament include Wayne County, Russell County, Lincoln County, and South Laurel.

“I’m all about improvement,” Ratliff said. “I try not to criticize them too much because I don’t want them to ignore me. I try to encourage them and if we get beat, we get beat.”

The area Ratliff would like to see her team work on the most is communication.

“We have some struggles we have to work on. We have a lot of games coming up, so hopefully that will help,” Ratliff said. “We’ve got good hitters, good setters and servers, but we won’t talk. Everybody wants to go to the ball at the same time.”

North will host Whitley County tonight in a huge district match.