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Mustangs prepare for state tournament

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By Sam Draut

 North Oldham volleyball and Meade County play in the first round of the KHSAA state tournament at Valley High School on Friday Nov. 4 at 11 a.m. Admission is $10.

Where:

 Valley Traditional High School, 10200 Dixie Highway, Louisville Ky. The J.C. Cantrell Gymnasium will host the entire state tournament. Built in 2012, the gym seats nearly 3,200 people, making it the largest high school gym in the greater Louisville area.

How they got here:

North Oldham (27-7) is ranked seventh in the state and handled Eighth Region competition throughout the year, finishing 10-1 against regional opponents. The Mustangs won their fourth consecutive regional title in a straight set victory over Oldham County last week. 

The Mustangs have played one of the state’s toughest schedules this season with matches against 14 ranked teams including Assumption, Mercy and Sacred Heart, the top-3 ranked teams in the state. 

Meade County (30-8) won the Third Region title last week in a five-set match against Owensboro Catholic. The Lady Waves are unranked in the most recent state coaches poll. 

Each team has a full week in between the regional final and first round of the state tournament, so though the time off can be a good thing, it can sometimes lend to sluggish start.

“We will watch film and get a lot of rest,” North Oldham coach Kayla Koerber said after the regional final. “We will work on ball control, rotational drills, fine-tuning those skills that need to be executed well at state.”

Mutual Opponent:

North Oldham and Meade County have just one mutual opponent this season: South Oldham. The Mustangs swept South Oldham in straight sets (25-17, 25-20, 25-6) in a road victory in mid-September.

Meade County played South Oldham in the Thoroughbred Smash tournament at Lafayette on Sept. 23, winning in three sets (25-21, 23-25, 15-12).

What to watch for:

North Oldham’s passing was sharp in last week’s regional tournament. With the reinsertion of Addison Foote in the lineup following a concussion, setter Brie Postema, who has 899 assists, has a bevy of options for Mustang attacks. 

Gabby Roberts (292 kills) and Olivia Roberts (209 kills) present a formidable presence in the middle while Foote (220 kills), Meredith Kovarovic (120 kills) and Hannah McGill (98 kills) lead the Mustang attacks on the outside. 

Though the points end in kills, North Oldham’s back line gets and keeps the offense in system. 

Lindsey Foote leads the serve receive with 422 receptions to go along with 402 digs. Addison Foote and Miranda Meyers each have over 200 receptions and 100 digs while Sarah Torstrick, Madison Junion and Jordan Atchison have over 100 receptions to help begin North Oldham’s offense. 

Bleacher Creatures

North Oldham brought around 400 students to its state tournament matches last season, so a similar cheering section should be expected this year. The school is transporting students via school bus to attend Friday’s match. Even though it’s a neutral site, North Oldham’s student section could have a presence during the match.

After playing several years in front of the boisterous state tournament crowd, Gabby Roberts doesn’t think the large crowd will overwhelm the team.

“We are used to all the people there,” Gabby Roberts said. “When the whole school comes we are used to it enough that it doesn’t distract us too much.”

What’s next:

The state volleyball tournament is single-elimination, so it is win or go home for both teams Friday morning. The winner would advance to the quarterfinals which would be played on Saturday at 10 a.m. between the winner of Paintsville and Mercy.

Mercy is the second-ranked team in the state and an opponent North Oldham is familiar with. The Mustangs fell in straight sets (25-19, 25-16, 25-17) to Mercy on a road trip in early October.