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KHSAA State Volleyball: Lady Mustangs prep for Scott at state tournament

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By Elliott Pratt

GOSHEN — North Oldham has prepared for Friday this entire season.

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The Lady Mustangs will play Scott High School in the KHSAA Volleyball State Tournament Friday at 11 a.m. at Valley High School with a mission to avenge last season’s early tournament exit.

When North was swept by Mercy Academy in the 2014 state tournament, coach Brett Versen went to work by putting together a schedule to face top talent.

For a second straight year, the Lady Mustangs find themselves among the top 16 in the state, battle-tested and prepared for the next challenge.

“It’s a whole new season,” Versen said. “Everyone has the same goals in mind so we have to come out there and stay poised and play our game, do what we do best and continue to push defensively and offensively and take it one game at a time and survive and advance.”

North’s opponent, Scott (37-3), defeated Bishop Brossart 3-0 in the Region 10 final last Thursday and has won 12 straight.

The Lady Eagles were ranked No. 13 in the latest Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Coaches Poll while the Lady Mustangs (25-12) ranked No. 7.

North pulled away in early sets against Oldham County for its second straight Region 8 title.

The match marked the third straight regional final between North and OC, with the Lady Colonels last win over North coming in the 2013 region tournament.

North swept the region title match in straight sets 25-23, 25-18 and 25-13 on its home floor in front of a home crowd atmosphere.

“It was awesome,” Versen said. “I’m glad the girls got to experience something like that. Our senior night wasn’t the way to go out. This atmosphere in the regional final is the way our seniors need to go out.”

OC kept it close in the first two sets, but North pulled away for its seventh straight win against OC, whose season ends at 24-16.

OC loses six seniors that contributed to most of its production on the court in senior outside hitters Kelsey Miller and Leah Hollander; middle hitters Bailey Smith and Taylor Bollman and defensive specialists Caitlyn Rice and Creighton Ladd.

The Lady Colonels’ best play came in the first set when junior Kylie Cochran started the match with a service ace and OC jumped out to an 8-3 lead.

Back-to-back aces from North tied the set at 10 and no team led by more than two for the rest of the frame.

OC fought back to take a 23-21 lead but North scored the final four points to win it 25-23.

“We felt like we had a great shot at winning that first set,” McDonough said. “I think that would have been a game changer to take set one. It just didn’t happen and we kind of shot ourselves in the foot there. It was just silly mistakes.”

Another close set in the second frame saw six lead changes throughout.

Kills from Miller and junior Karissa Koons tied the set at 14-all and Sarah Snyder’s kill tied it again at 18. The Lady Colonels stepped into the net to give North the leading point where they took off for the 25-18 set win.

OC tied the match at seven-all in the third set before North pulled away with multiple blocks for the 25-13 win.

North registered 11 blocks on the match, led by three solo blocks from junior Madison Clements.

“My hat goes off to them,” McDonough said. “They’re still one of the better blocking teams I’ve seen in the state all year. I would have liked to have seen us claw our way out of that third set. Other than that, I’m still proud of our team and we came out ready to play.”

Snyder was named the Region 8 Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

“I would say that we can still improve,” Snyder said. “As of right now, we’re playing better than we ever have.”

Along with Snyder, Casey and Ryan Foote and Jennifer Rebbin were named to the All-Region team.

Bollman, Miller and Koons represented OC on the All-Region team.

 

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