The Eminence High School volleyball team’s dream season ended on October 30 when they fell to an athletic Oldham County Lady Colonels’ team 3-0. Oldham County went on to defeat North Oldham 3-1 to take the regional championship and move on to the state tournament to be held at Valley High School November 8-10.
The Warriors, who finished the season with a 22-3 record found the Lady Colonels’ size and athleticism too much to overcome but gave it a game effort.
In the first game Eminence got out to a 3-1 lead as the Lady Colonels committed three errors before settling down. The Warriors hung tough until at 6-6 went on a 7-1 run to make it 13-7.
The margin stayed the same until at 15-9 the Lady Colonels scored four straight points on a variety of vicious kill shots to go up 19-10.
From there they coasted to a 25-14 win.
The Lady Colonels strong net play continued throughout games two and three as they got many kills and blocks while the Warriors found it difficult to hit around or over their taller opponents.
Oldham County won game two 25-11 and game three 25-12 to end a special season for the Warriors.
“We had so much to overcome facing a team as talented as Oldham County,” coach Stephanie Barrows said. “We didn’t play our best but at times we did show what we could do.
“Losing to such a talented team and the eventual regional champions is nothing to be ashamed of.
The girls were so sad to lose because these seniors have put so much into it and they will never get to play together with their returning teammates again.”
EHS 3 Walton 0
The Warriors looked like they might make short work of the Bearcats as they jumped out to a 12-0 lead behind the serving of senior GaiLynn Carroll in the first game on October 29 in the first round of regional play.
Carroll had five aces in the run and Emily Coomes and Brie Prewitt provided a couple of kills while Walton clearly struggled with opening round jitters with several unforced errors.
“I think that drove the whole match,” Barrows said of the opening run. “Coming in with that kind of intensity and building that kind of lead. Really helped.”
Walton recovered nicely from the early hole and played evenly with Warriors for the second half of the game but could not overcome the huge deficit and fell 25-13.
Game two looked like it might follow the same pattern as Carroll opened the game serving for the Warriors. The Bearcats started with an error, Prewitt followed with a kill and Carroll served two more aces to make it 4-0. After a net serve gave Walton some relief, Emily Coomes got a kill to make it 5-1.
But Walton was able to get a couple of kills and began to slowly fight their way back into the match.
With score standing at 10-5 the Bearcats reeled off five straight points to tie the score at 10-10.
Tiffany Thomas stopped the run with a kill to make it 11-10 but Walton eventually took the lead at13-12 on an ace.
After another ace put the Warriors in a two-point hole, Prewitt got another kill but Walton continued to play tough and eventually stretched the lead to 19-16.
At that point Walton committed two errors and Thomas got a kill to tie the score at 19. Another Walton error forced them into a timeout trailing by one but Thomas got a kill coming out of the timeout and the Warriors built a 24-20 advantage before Walton closed to within two at 24-22, but a kill by Carroll gave Eminence game two 25-22.
Game three was close throughout with neither team able to build a big lead. Walton looked to gain the upper hand when they took a 23-21 lead on an EHS error and a Walton kill.
But out of a timeout Walton committed a rotation violation to make it 23-22 and give Eminence the serve. On a play that showcased why the Warriors were so tough to beat all year the Warriors tied the score.
Coomes went up for kill and the ball was blocked almost straight down her side of the net. Somehow Coomes was able to hit the ball back up into the air and Destiny Dale came charging from the back line to pass the ball over the net. Walton was caught off guard because it looked like a sure point for them and the ball landed in the Bearcat backcourt for a Warrior point.
The rattled Bearcats committed two straight errors to give the Warriors the game and the match.
“I think we played well,” Barrows said. “We had some mistakes but I think they had some nerves knowing what it meant as far as being our first trip to the regional tournament in 10 years and what was at stake. But overall I thought they handled it well and I was very proud of them.”
When asked about the play of Prewitt who had several timely kills in the match Barrows said, “Brie did an amazing job. She covered everything and did everything I told her to do. She also kept the team up with her enthusiasm.”
An emotional Barrows tried to talk about what seniors GaiLynn Carroll, Destiny Dale, Madison Pittman, Brie Prewitt and Tiffany Thomas meant to the Warriors dream season. “These girls mean the world to me. It has been remarkable to me as a coach to be so close to these young ladies that are not only so talented but just an amazing group of young women.”