LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
LOG MOUNTAIN—A youthful South Laurel team made it a positive start to the season with a straight-set win over Bell County. All three sets in the Lady Cardinals’ 25-20, 25-23, 25-20 win were competitive.
“It was a good win for this group of girls. We are young. We won a few at the Bluegrass Games and a couple of scrimmages, but to start our season off like this is a good thing,” South Laurel coach Mitzi Jones said.
There is only a pair of seniors on the Lady Cardinals roster. It was also the first game as head coach for Jones, who replaces Fawn Greer after three seasons at South Laurel. Jones thought the youth may have been the reason her team didn’t put Bell County away quickly when they had the chance.
“We have a problem with getting up and then letting down. I think that comes from lack of leadership on the floor. I think that will come. We only have two seniors and they are on the floor at different times,” Jones said.
In first set South Laurel mostly maintained the lead, although Bell County was still in striking distance at 23-20. A kill by Katie Reynolds and another South Laurel point at the net would end the match.
“We changed the rotation up a little bit today. We used (Kelsey Parsons) at libero, we hadn’t been using one in the past. It seemed to work well. When we put the libero in we moved (Katie Reynolds) from middle to outside and she did really good outside hitter,” Jones said.
South Laurel fell behind 10-4 in the second set before rallying behind the play of Whitney Wilt. Wilt started the rally with a kill and then rotated to the serve. Her first serve was an ace off the face off a Bell County setter. The Lady Cardinals pulled within 11-10 with Wilt serving two more aces.
“She’s one of our seniors, so I expect her to do that every time,” Jones said.
Behind strong play from the front line, South Laurel tied the score 13-13. There would be five more ties before the Lady Cardinals took a 23-22 lead. A kill by Wilt made it 24-22. After a South Laurel serve error, a Bell County return sailed wide to end the set.
There would be three early ties in the third set before South Laurel started to open breathing room. Consecutive aces by Reynolds had the Lady Cardinals leading 15-10. Bell County would get as close as two points, but never catch up from there. The match ended on a solid kill from Reynolds.
“We’ve got a couple of young big girls in the front and we thought they were ready. They did a good job,” Jones said.