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South Laurel's Katelyn Spicer goes up for a kill during the Lady Cardinals' two set loss to Russell County.

Consistency.

That’s all that South Laurel volleyball coach Mitzi Jones wants from her team. To play every point and every ball.

Tuesday night the Lady Cardinals played host to one of Region 4’s top teams, the Russell County Lady Lakers, falling to the visitors in straight sets, 25-22, 25-18. It was a match that Jones felt her team could have easily won.

“We are really better than we are playing right now,” Jones said.

South Laurel (5-5) had chances to take control of both sets. After falling behind 11-4 in the first set, the Lady Cardinals battled back to tie the match at 17-17. But Russell County (11-4) scored four straight points to take a 21-17 lead, then held on for the 25-22 win.

In the second set the Lady Cards held a 16-14 lead but saw Russell County go on an 11-2 run to close out the set and take the 25-18 win.

“When something bad happens we can’t recover,” Jones said.

It looked like the first set was going to be a blowout with the Lady Lakers racing out to an 11-4 lead. But the Lady Cards dug down deep thanks to some key plays at the net from Katelyn Spicer and the serving of Kaylee Norvell, Savannah Baxter, Kelsey Parsons and Kristen Rickett to battle all the way back and tie the match at 17-17. Then Hannah Gay was blocked at the net for a Russell County point, giving the Lady Lakers an 18-17 lead and the serve. A kill by Kaitlyn Coffey upped the lead to 21-17, forcing Jones to call a time-out.

The Lady Cards would hang close and cut the lead to 23-22, but a ball hit out by South and an ace by Coffey gave Russell County the first set, 25-23.

“I want to see us battle back like that every point,” Jones said.

The second set was a nip-and-tuck battle throughout. Russell County took a 5-1 lead before South fought back. An ace by Parsons cut the lead to 10-9, then a kill by Rickett tied the match at 10-10. South took an 11-10 lead before a net serve tied the match and gave the serve back to Russell County.

The two teams would continue to trade points up until two straight aces gave the Lady Lakers a 20-17 lead. A kill by Brooklyn Mann made it 21-17. South would score just one more point in the set as Russell County won, 25-18.

“We can’t get our passes down,” Jones said. “We’ve got good hitters but we can’t use them if the passes aren’t good.”

After opening the season 5-2, the Lady Cards have now dropped three matches in a row. They were scheduled to host Knox Central last night, then will travel to Tennessee this weekend to play in an event.

sports@sentinel-echo.com

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