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LOUISVILLE — For the first game of its KHSAA State Volleyball Tournament opener, North Oldham played the way it wanted to play and easily won.
But in the second game, the Lady Mustangs got away from their gameplan, prompting coach Brian Jones to call a timeout, up 9-8 over Letcher County Central. North Oldham got past the Lady Cougars 2-0, but if it’s to advance further in the tournament at Bellarmine’s Knights Hall, there can’t be any letting off the throttle.
“We played decent the first game, but the second game we didn’t play to our fullest potential at all,” Jones said. “I think with how we won the first game, they’re notorious for thinking, ‘Oh, we’ve got this next one.’”
The Lady Mustangs came out strong to the support of six bus-loads of North Oldham students in attendance, jumping to a 9-1 lead. Letcher County Central cut the lead to 11-5, before the Lady Mustangs closed with a 14-8 run to win 25-13.
By the end of the first game, the nerves had calmed down.
“We really wanted to come out and do the best we could,” senior libero Jenna Coleman said. “We’re not used to that many people at all because not that many people come to our games. We know a lot of those people, so we don’t wanna mess up and them see it.”
But in the second game, North Oldham was sluggish to start. The Lady Cougars scored first and tied the game 3-3. After their timeout, the Lady Mustangs clutched to a 13-12 lead but with a newfound energy.
“They started to block the hitters more” senior defender Heather Glenn said. “We just adjusted to that and we were more aware of their block because they didn’t show that the first game.”
Junior outside hitter Madison Tinder sent home a ferocious kill to give North Oldham a 21-14 lead and on match point, blocked a shot at the net that was mishandled by Letcher County Central. The Lady Cougars’ return went into the net post to give the Lady Mustangs a 25-14 win.
“It’s important to stay strong, instead of getting in a rut,” Coleman said. “Then, it’s mental and we start making unnecessary mistakes. It’s really good to stop their run early and come back strong.”
North Oldham moves on to the quarterfinal round, where it will face Allen Central at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Jones said he hopes the energy level will be high and remain high with his team.
“We play North Oldham ball, we’ll be fine,” he said. “We need to keep up our intensity. Our bench has a tendency to get up and then they’re at the mall instead of here.”
If the Lady Mustangs defeat Allen Central, it will play in the state semi-finals at 2 p.m. tomnorrow. The state tournament concludes with the championship match at 7:30 p.m.
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