By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
After last week’s surprising loss at Jackson County, South Laurel coach Fawn Greer said her team diagrammed in their heads and expressed their thoughts on areas they needed to focus on.
That has seemed to work.
Since then, South has reeled off three straight wins to finish the season 16-5-0, the third coming Tuesday night in a 25-7, 25-17, 25-17 sweep of visiting Knox Central on Senior Night.
“We played well at times,” Greer said. “I don’t know if we were really into the match with trying new plays or it being Senior Night, but we did a good job for the most part.”
These two teams met back on September 18, where South again won in three sets after the Lady Panthers gave them a scare in the first set, 25-22.
“That first set at Knox Central we weren’t ready for what they were doing,” Greer said. “That was their wake up call.”
This time around, it was all South Laurel.
The first set was close early, with South holding a 9-6 lead before reeling off eight straight points to take a commanding 17-6 lead thanks to the strength of Kaylee Norvell’s serve and C.J. Johnson and Taylor Arthur’s play at the net.
Arthur, one of the six seniors honored along with Johnson, Josey Mounce, Alyson Croley, Amy Cummins and Tara Deaton, took over serving with her team leading 18-7. She promptly served out of the set, including four aces, for the 25-7 win.
Set two was a little bit closer than the first, but still controlled by the Lady Cardinals. Knox held a 5-4 lead early, but that would be the only lead the Lady Panthers would enjoy in the second set. Mounce has been working on a jump serve, which led to two straight aces to push the lead to 7-5.
“When it is a strenuous match Josey is hesitant to do the jump serve,” Greer said. “But she’s been very successful with it. The whole team served well tonight.”
Two aces by Deaton made it 10-7. Still Knox Central (9-12-0) hung tough, cutting the lead to 10-9 before letting the ball drop between two players, which gave South and Norvell the serve back.
An ace got things going. Knox got the serve back at 12-11, but Kelsey Engle sent her serve into the net. South slowly started to gain control, and built a 17-12 lead with Arthur and Deaton serving.
The Lady Panthers would cut the lead to 19-16 late, but that would be as close as they would get. Cummins served South to a 22-17 lead, then when the Lady Cards got the serve back following another net serve from Knox Central, Norvell finished with an ace for a 25-17 win.
Mounce again showcased her jump serve in the third set with two aces and a 6-2 South lead. That lead grew to 14-7 when Deaton set a nice ball that Croley smashed for a kill.
Knox Central tried to hang close, cutting the lead to 16-13, but Arthur then took over at the net with four kills, and Norvell added two aces to end the set, 25-15.
“Taylor played great at the net,” Greer said. “She did the last time we played Knox Central. When she creams it from the outside it’s hard to stop.”
South Laurel will now face North Laurel Monday night at 6 p.m. in the 50th District tournament at Corbin.
“I’m happy where we are, but we are still going to work a little more on moving and other things,” Greer said.
On Saturday, South Laurel took on Mason County and George Rogers Clark in a tri-match. They beat Mason, 25-7, 25-14, and GRC, 20-25, 25-20, 15-13.