In a close, hard-fought volleyball match Monday at the Cougar Den, the Lady Cougars defeated the Owensboro Catholic Lady Aces 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 16-25, 25-16) in the opening round of the 3rd Region Volleyball Tournament.
When the Lady Cougars won that first set, it marked the first time since October of 2006 that the Lady Cougars had won a set in the regional tournament. The last time they won a match in the regional was in 2004.
Senior Ella Robinson led the Lady Cougars with 22 kills and she added four blocks. Sophomore Lillie Payne led the team with five blocks. Senior libero Bailey Richardson led with 25 digs, and senior setter Brieanna Boll led with 28 assists. Senior Kenzie Skaggs had three aces to lead in that category.
The Lady Cougars started slowly in the first set, as early on they trailed by as many as seven points, 4-11. But they started coming back at that point.
Trailing by three points, 14-17, and with senior Chloe Cox serving, Grayson County reeled off eight straight to lead 23-17. A kill by Payne during the run gave the Lady Cougars their first lead at 18-17. Robinson had two kills during the run, while Skaggs added one. Cox also served an ace during the run.
With Catholic senior Jenna Glenn serving, the Lady Aces fought back to within a point of the lead at 23-22, but a Payne block at the net gave a set point to Grayson County and Robinson put away a kill to give the first set to the Lady Cougars.
The second set started much as the first did, with the Lady Cougars trailing in the early going by as many as five points, at 7-12 and 11-16. Trailing by four and with freshman Emma Embry serving, the Lady Cougars used a 4-0 run to tie things at 16-16.
Tied at 17-17 Skaggs served an ace to give the Lady Cougars their first lead of the set. Leading by two, 20-18, Robinson served four straight points to take it to set point. 24-18.
The Lady Aces then reeled off four straight to make it 24-22, but Robinson killed a ball to give the second set to the Lady Cougars.
The Lady Cougars led just once in the third set, at 2-1. They pulled to within one point of the lead three times, at 9-10, 12-13, and 13-14, but the Lady Aces responded with five unanswered points to lead 13-19. A Lady Cougar hitting error at set point gave the set to the Lady Aces.
Grayson County trailed in the early going of the fourth set by as many as three points at 4-7, but a Boll kill on an overpass gave the Lady Cougars the lead at 10-9, and they would never trail again.
Richardson took the serve with the Lady Cougars up by two, 13-11, and served six straight to give the Lady Cougars an eight-point lead, 19-11. Skaggs served at match point and Richardson had a kill off the block from the back row, and the Lady Cougars had the win.
Grayson County advances to the semi-final round, where they will face Meade County, 3-2 winners over Ohio County in Monday’s first game. That game will begin at 5:30 on Wednesday.
By Don Brown, Local Sports
Reach Don at email@example.com