The Eminence Warriors hosted Henry County on Sept. 24 and came away with a 3-0 victory, sweeping the Lady Cats in regular season play for the first time since 2005.
The win gave Eminence a 6-0 record in the district, and with two matches to go against Owen County and Gallatin County, sealed the top seed in the district for the Warriors. The second, third and fourth seeds are up for grabs.
The Lady Cats jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the first game, forcing the Warriors into an early timeout.
The Warriors regained the serve, but couldn’t take advantage as the teams traded points until a 4-0 Henry County run increased their lead to 13-6.
The Warriors pulled back a couple of points to make it 13-8 but the Cats went on a 5-1 run to go up 18-9.
After a missed serve for the Cats, the Warriors worked their way back into the game with strong net play from Emily Coomes and Tiffany Thomas.
The Warriors forced the Cats into timeout when they pulled within one point at 20-19. Thomas got a kill coming out of the timeout to tie the game at 20.
But the Cats got a break when the next serve went into the net.
With a 21-20 lead, Henry County got an ace from Molly Williamson and blocks from Devin Belcher and Kim Barmore to make it 23-20.
The Warriors stayed in the game when Thomas got a kill on the next point and pulled within one again on a Lady Cats’ hitting error. Destiny Dale aced to tie the game at 23. But the Warriors gave it back to the Cats with a hitting error and the Cats had a chance to win the game with Barmore going back to serve at 24-23. But Thomas came through again with a kill to tie it. The Warriors got another kill from Coomes and an ace from Thomas, closing out the big comeback win.
“We played really well in the first game even though we didn’t win,” HCHS coach Katie Ruff said. “It was one of our best games of the season. We just lost a little focus at the end. Eminence did a good job coming back. You have to give them credit.”
Thomas finished the first game with 14 kills and ace to lead her team’s comeback.
The loss deflated the Lady Cats, and they couldn’t get the same energy going in the second game that they had in game one.
The Warriors rode the momentum of the first game to a dominating 25-12 victory. “In the second game our heads were still down from the first game and we couldn’t recover,” Ruff said.
The Cats regained their composure for the third game and fought valiantly to get back in the match. The game was close throughout as the Warriors could build only a 12-8 lead midway through. Both teams got strong net play in the final game as Megan Payton had several blocks and kills, and Coomes, Thomas, GaiLynn Carroll and Brie Prewitt had kills.
At 12-9, Payton got two straight kills and Eminence committed a hitting error before an emphatic kill by Payton gave the Cats a 13-12 lead.
The Cats served out on the next point and Carroll served back-to-back aces to retake the lead for the Warriors.
The Cats eventually got the lead back when Victoria Marcum got two aces in a row to make it 17-16 in favor of the Lady Cats.
The Warriors called timeout and came back with a 3-0 run that forced the Lady Cats into a timeout. The timeout stopped the run as the Warriors committed a hitting error and Barmore got a well-placed shot to fall into open court to tie it at 19.
But Thomas came through again with a kill to give the Warriors the lead for good. Prewitt got a kill at 24-23 to put the match away for the Warriors.
Coomes had six kills and Thomas had four kills and a block in the final game. Payton had four kills and two blocks for the Cats.
The 1-2 punch of Thomas and Coomes was too much for the Cats to overcome. Thomas finished the match with 21 kills and two blocks while Coomes had 11 kills.
“Tiff and Emily are a powerhouse combination,” EHS coach Stephanie Barrows said. “They are so nice to have on the same team because they both want it so bad.”
When asked what she thought turned the first game around from a blowout in favor of the Cats to a close win for the Warriors Barrows said, “Let’s just say that we had a little heart-to-heart during our second timeout in that game and that seemed to wake us up.”
Ruff was upbeat about the Lady Cats’ performance. “Despite the loss I feel like we showed a lot of improvement in this match.”
Barrows was pleased with the result but not with the performance. I don’t think we played good and I think the players would tell you the same thing. Our mental state wasn’t good. We weren’t there mentally. When we are there, we are ten times better.”
EHS 3 Owen County 0
The Warriors extended their record to 7-0 in district games on Thursday night when they beat the Lady Rebels of Owen County 25-15, 25-18, 25-19.
“It was a good performance but it could have been better,” Barrows said. “We had six missed serves and several hitting and passing errors. These are things we should be doing at this time of the year.
“Emily and Tiff had some good hits, and Brie and Kennedy also had some nice hits. Our passing was good and Leah Dale stepped in for Madison Pittman who is ill and did a good job. She covered well and passed well.”
HCHS 0 Collins 2
The Lady Cats followed up their match with Eminence at Shelbyville on Thursday to take on Collins and fell in two games 25-14, 25-22.
“The girls’ minds were not there for the first game,” Ruff said. “We missed six serves in the first game. Maybe our minds were on powder-puff football.
“We played much better in the second game. I think when we play Collins it’s a mental thing. I don’t think our girls realize their potential.”
HCHS wins two in Anderson County tournament
The Lady Cats had a busy weekend playing five matches in the Anderson County Invitational against a strong field.
The Cats split a pair of matches with the host Lady Bearcats. In their first match they won 25-14, 25-16, but Anderson won the second match 26-24, 25-14.
The Cats also beat Spencer County and got revenge for a loss earlier in the season to the Lady Bears. The Cats dominated the first set 25-11 and pulled out a squeaker in the second 26-24.
“I had two coaches tell me that we don’t even look like the same team as earlier in the season,” Coach Katie Ruff said. “Overall it’s the best we’ve played all season.”
The Cats lost to eventual tournament champions LaRue County 25-14, 25-16 and a strong Bardstown team 23-25, 25-22, 15-12.
“Bardstown was a really strong team and so was LaRue County,” Ruff said. “We took a set from Bardstown and you literally see the confidence on our kids faces after that. Hopefully we can keep this kind of play up throughout the remainder of the season.”