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LOUISVILLE – The big challenge waits in the second round for Oldham County, but the Lady Colonels weren't looking past the task at hand Friday.
OC (32-8) swept Region 14 champion Hazard 3-0 (25-7, 25-8, 25-14) Friday morning in the first round of the state volleyball tournament at Valley High School.
The win sets up a Lady Colonel tilt against Mercy in the state quarterfinals at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The Lady Bulldogs (29-6) were over-matched from the beginning by OC.
The Lady Colonels rushed out to a 9-3 lead, taking control from the beginning. OC did much of its work on serves, holding a 23-0 advantage in service aces.
“I think probably a lot of what you might see was us riding a lot of momentum,” coach Vincent McDonough said. “We still served the ball pretty well... our serve-receive was outstanding today.”
Senior Marissa Turnage and Kylie Cochran led the way with six service aces, respectively. Kelsey Miller and Leah Hollander had four apiece.
“I love it,” Hollander said, “just the feeling of being here.”
OC went on to win the first set 25-7.
The second set went about the same as the first, with the Lady Colonels winning 25-8.
As the Lady Colonels stayed in command, McDonough was able to empty his bench and get all of his players into the game.
“From top to bottom we're pretty good anyway,” McDonough said. “A lot of players are even, that's why I'm usually able to rotate a lot of girls, a lot of people in and out.
“It almost feels like a Rick Pitino, Calipari-like system where you can put several people in and you're still pretty good at that position. We're just blessed with good talent.”
OC finished Hazard off in the third set by a score of 25-14.
Turnage said she was satisfied with the way the Lady Colonels finished off a Lady Bulldog team that spent the game struggling.
“It's kind of hard because you kind of lose enthusiasm but you've just got to keep driving and push to the end, she said.”
OC finished the game with a .342 attacking percentage, compared with a -.133 percentage for Hazard. Kelsey Miller had a team-high eight kills, while Bailey Smith and Myah Underwood each had seven.
The Lady Colonels' next opponent, Mercy, will be a much tougher test.
The Jaguars beat Wayne County 3-0 (25-7, 25-7, 25-9) Friday in the first round.
“For us to get them shaken we have to come at them early,” McDonough said. “...We'll definitely have to get on some good runs. We can't afford to give up big runs on their end.
“If they put up six, seven, eight point runs then it's going to be a long day. We've got to at least minimize that and get some serving accomplished when we can.”
Turnage said she's confident the Lady Colonels will show up with a nothing-to-lose attitude.
“Even though they're a big team and they're like 'We're Mercy,' well we're OC,” Turnage said. “We're here to win.”