By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The sequel is rarely as good as the original.
North Laurel won a five-set thriller with Corbin on Sept. 6. Tuesday’s rematch was all Corbin with the Lady Redhounds sweeping three sets 25-16, 25-17, and 25-18.
“Our girls’ heads just weren’t in it tonight. It was a totally different team,” North Laurel coach Haley Ratliff said.
Corbin coach Liberty Roberts was much more pleased with her team and the win that secures the No. 1 seed in the 50th District tournament and a first round bye. North Laurel and South Laurel will meet in the first round.
“That was big because our district is always competitive,” Roberts said. “Plus you never want to have to play more than you need to.”
Although the Lady Redhounds won all three sets, they did not dominate any set. North Laurel always seemed to be one good run away from challenging. The good run never came.
“They kept it at five points and I was like why can’t we get over this five points. It was like that in all three sets. It was something we just couldn’t get over tonight,” Ratliff said.
Corbin jumped ahead 12-5 in the first set with half of its points coming at the net. It was an active frontline for the Lady Redhounds that made the difference early.
“It was really important that they go out and prove that they have been working on things really hard. They aren’t a team that’s ever going to expect to just go into a gym and win,” Roberts said.
The Lady Jaguars would stay close, but never challenged the Corbin lead. North Laurel was still within five points at 17-12 and six points at 20-14.
“It was like we were in cement. I will admit that,” Ratliff said. “The girls for Corbin see the floor extremely well. They saw all the holes. As soon as we would double block, they would tip it right over the back. Hats off to Corbin. They had a great game plan and they followed through on it.”
It would be the same story in the second set. Corbin led 9-3 before Marsha Boggs stopped their momentum with a tip. Kelsey Hacker served a pair of winners for a 9-6 score. The Lady Jaguars were still within 11-8 when Daylen Gilbert served an ace.
The Lady Redhounds reeled off the next four points. They would maintain that edge throughout the set. North Laurel trimmed the lead to four points three times with the last coming at 19-15.
Corbin jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the third set, but still could not pull away. North Laurel cut the lead to two points twice. The Lady Jaguars still showed life trailing 22-18 before Corbin scored the last three points.
“They came off a good weekend of playing and I think they realize they have to play that way every time,” Roberts said. “Because of what happened in the past, I feel like they really earned their win tonight.”