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With a 2-0 win over Owen County in their home opener Monday, the Trimble County Lady Raiders have won three straight contests to start the 2012 volleyball season.
Trimble opened the season on the road with a 3-1 win over Martha Layne Collins High School [21-25, 25-17, 25-21 and 25-20] on Aug. 7. The girls followed that two nights later by winning the best of three sets at Walton-Verona [25-19, 17-25 and 25-18].
On Monday, Trimble opened the first game with seven straight points before Owen got on the scoreboard. The Lady Raiders led 10-3 and fronted 17-9 before the Lady Rebels mounted a charge to pull within 17-14. After taking a commanding, 24-15 advantage, the Lady Raiders allowed Owen to score six straight to pull within 24-21 before finally putting the game away.
“Owen County is a good team,” Trimble Head Coach Ruth Staples said. “They’re scrappy and they never give up. We had a good lead in both games and we let them come right back in where we got flat-footed and lackadaisical.”
As the second game commenced the two teams traded points until Trimble held a slim 7-6 advantage. The Lady Raiders began to rally and pulled out to a 12-7 advantage en route to a 25-15 win.
“I have to contribute that to it being the first home game and a lot of family and friends are here,” Staples said. “Since it was our first home match I won’t be as hard on them. We’re still struggling with serving. I’m not happy with the serving. I’m not happy with the transition from offense to defense, but a win is a win. If we can struggle and win I can’t be too disappointed.”
Statistically, each of the starters contributed, Staples said.
Junior Paige Black was 16 of 18 in serving with five aces. Black also had seven kills and two blocks. Senior Kelsie Courtney was seven for eight serving. She had 10 kills and two blocks. Junior McKenna Ginn was nine of 10 serving. She was 23 for 24 sets and had three kills. Sophomore Kayla Baker was two for three serving, 24 of 26 sets. Baker had two kills. Sophomore Kayla Greenwood was two for four serving. She had one kill and nine for 11 defensive digs. Sophomore Sydney Weaver was four for five serving and 12 for 13 in defensive digs.
Staples anticipates good things from her team this year. Her goal is for the team to improve on last year’s stellar campaign that saw the Lady Raiders win 22 of 31 games.
“We’ve started out 3-0 so that’s encouraging,” she said. “We’re headed in that direction. Our goal again, of course, is to win the Class A Region and this time win the Class A State. We didn’t do as well in the Class A State Tournament last year as I would have liked.”
The team’s next goal is to win the postseason district tournament. The district was a five-team event last year but Carroll County has been moved into another district. This year’s tournament will be a four-team affair with Trimble matched up with perennial powerhouses Oldham County, North Oldham and South Oldham.
“All three are in the top 25 in the state,” Staples said. “They’re the top three in our region. Collins was ranked pretty high in the region and we beat them so that’s encouraging.”
Three of Trimble’s regular starters from last year’s team—Black, Courtney and Ginn—are back in familiar roles. Black will get a lot of attention from other teams “and Paige is ready,” Staples said. “She likes the challenge. She likes to hit and she likes to block. It helps to have Kelsie and Paige because a lot of teams are going to block Kelsie. Kelsie is adjusting to hitting around the block. McKenna, I expect her to be a good strong player.”
Staples said she is encouraged by the amount of talent on this year’s team.
“I’m seeing a lot of good things,” she said. “A lot of young girls are stepping up and doing big things even early in the season.”
Sophomores Sydney Weaver, Kayla Baker and Kayla Greenwood have moved up to starting positions this season. All enjoyed some varsity experience last year.
“Kayla Baker has just started setting. She was a hitter last year and she went from a JV/varsity hitter to a varsity setter/hitter so I think Kayla’s helping us out a lot,” Staples said. “The sophomore class has a lot of talent so it’s encouraging. My returning juniors and seniors are doing well, too."
Senior Kaitlyn O’Brath and junior Logan Morgan are expected to make valuable contributions in reserve roles.
“I’m happy to see we’re doing a lot of things well,” Staples said following Monday’s win. “I don’t think we’re playing up to our potential, which is good because we can get better. The girls are working hard. The talent is here, the work ethic is here so it depends on how well they maintain the work ethic. We have six girls who are working well together. I just hope they continue to do that. That will be the determination of our season how well they continue to work together and work at getting better.”