WHITLEY COUNTY — The South Laurel Lady Cardinals handed the Whitley County Lady Colonels their first loss of the season with a close 3-2 (25-19, 25-19, 16-25, 19-25, 15-12) win for South Laurel on Whitley County’s home court.

The Lady Cardinals came out strong, winning the first two sets but saw the Lady Colonels come back in the third and fourth sets before South Laurel was able to put the game away for good in the fifth and final set.

“We played really hard tonight (Thursday),” said South Laurel Coach Mitzi Jones. “Even in those two sets we lost, we played hard, we just didn’t play smart. We didn’t play with our heads, we played with not bad attitudes but we were defeated already before the sets started.”

The two teams remained close until the Lady Cardinals were able to pull away in the first set, leading by as much as six points before picking up a 25-19 win over the Lady Colonels for the first set.

South Laurel sealed another 25-19 win over the Lady Colonels in the second set and that was when Jones said her Lady Cardinals got too relaxed with two wins in the game.

“We are notorious for getting ahead and relaxing and then when they did that they got their heads down and it took us two more sets to get them back up,” she said. “So we just have to keep telling them that they can do it, we have to keep telling them that we believe in them and when they start feeling the pressure and they let it get to them, they lose focus. We are very young, so we’ve got to help them figure out how to deal with that pressure a little bit better.”

The Lady Colonels took a three-point lead and was able to run with it, as they found a 25-26 win over South Laurel in the third set.

The fourth set was much closer, as the Lady Cardinals found themselves within just one point of the Lady Colonels before Whitley County was able to pull away for good, taking a 25-19 win over South Laurel in the fourth set.

The two teams then moved into the final set, where they went to 15 points.

“Anything can happen in a 15-point game,” Jones said. “We told them first to five (points would win) and they were the first to five, so it gave them a little bit of confidence.”

The fifth set saw three lead changes before the Lady Cardinals were able to take off with the lead and find a 15-12 win over Whitley County and a 3-2 win for the game.

South Laurel will be facing district opponents Williamsburg and Corbin this week.

“This win helped a lot,” Jones said. “I think this will give us momentum going into the other two district games.”

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