Behind the powerful hitting and serving of junior Emma Wilder and the digging of senior libero Ally Felix, the Lady Cougar varsity volleyball team beat the visiting Lady Devils of Owensboro High in straight sets Thursday evening in Cougar Gym, 25-14, 25-9.
Because the Lady Devils had bus troubles on their trip from Owensboro, they were nearly an hour late arriving for the match. That caused a change in plans. Rather than have the freshman and JV teams play a best-of-three-sets match, each played just two sets.
After losing the first set, the Grayson County freshman girls fought back to salvage a tie, 15-21, 21-14. The JV girls also won their match in straight sets, 21-18, 21-13.
The Lady Cougars trailed by as many as four points in the early going, but a 5-0 run, including kills from Wilder and senior Grace White, put them in front by one, 8-7.
The visitors responded with a 5-0 run of their own to back up by four points, 12-8. A service error gave the ball back to the Lady Cougars, and Wilder took the serve. A kill and five aces by Wilder combined with a pair of kills by junior Briannah Wagner and another by junior Meredith Pawley during an 11-0 run to give the Lady Cougars a seven point advantage, 19-12.
Junior Julie Carroll put away a kill to bring it to set-point at 24-14 before Pawley blocked an Owensboro hitting attempt to give the Lady Cougars the first-set win.
Grayson County never trailed in the second set after scoring the first three points. After an Owensboro side-out made it 3-1, the Lady Cougars reeled off five straight, including two more Wilder kills, to make it 8-1.
Leading 11-4, Wilder served two more aces before an Owensboro hitting error increased the lead to 10 points, 14-4.
Owensboro battled back to close to within seven points of the lead at 16-9, but Felix made an incredible save on a ball in the net and got it to Pawley who drove a kill to stop the Lady Devil run.
That seemed to spark the Lady Cougars even further. Felix took the serve at that point and she served out for the match. Two Owensboro errors, a Pawley kill and a Felix ace made it 21-9.
Two more Lady Devil errors brought it to 23-9 before Pawley smashed a ball to the floor to move to match-point at 24-9. Felix followed that up with another ace, and the match went into the Lady Cougars’ win column.
Owensboro took command of the first set, leading by as many as five points before the Lady Cougars began to fight back into it.
A pair of Owensboro hitting errors allowed the Lady Cougars to get to within a point at 11-12, but the Lady Devils pushed the lead back up to four points at 16-12.
Grayson County still trailed by four, 17-13, when sophomore Olivia Lucas dinked a kill to give the ball back to Grayson County trailing by just three.
Sophomore Katie Mullins took the serve and nearly served out. An Owensboro error was followed by kills from sophomore Maggie Clark and Lucas to tie the score at 17-17. Mullins followed with a pair of aces to put Grayson County on top by two, 19-17.
A Grayson County hitting error gave the ball back to Owensboro, but Clark followed with another kill to move it to set-point, 20-18. Another Owensboro error then gave the set to the Lady Cougars.
Owensboro grabbed an early three-point advantage at 5-7, but the Lady Cougars scored four straight to take their first lead, 8-7.
The score was tied at 9-9 when junior Jasmine Smart took the serve. When her first serve knuckled over the net and was not returned, the Lady Cougars took a lead they would not give back. Two hitting errors and a kill by freshman Sam Milliner but Grayson County up by four, 13-9, and they never looked back.
An Owensboro service error moved it to match-point at 20-13 before Mullins served another ace for the win.
The freshman girls seemed to have control of things in the opening set after racing out to a five-point advantage at 7-2.
The Lady Cougars still led by two points, 13-11 when a service error gave the ball to Owensboro’s Armanda Pappas. Pappas had two aces in a 6-0 run that put them in front 18-13 and Grayson County was never closer than three points the rest of the way.
Leading 19-15, eighth-grader Kaelyn White’s kill moved it to set-point before eighth-grader Krystell Pappas served an ace to give the visitors the first-set win.
The two teams stayed within a point or two of one another at the start of the second set before a Milliner ace and a Lady Devil error pushed the lead to four points, 8-4.
Four straight Grayson County points, including a Hart ace pushed the lead to six points, 12-6. Five straight Owensboro points closed the gap to 12-11 before a Maddie Duvall kill stopped the run.
Leading by three, 15-12, Shelby Pierce took the serve for Grayson County. Five straight points followed, including a Pierce ace moved it to set-point.
A double-hit call stopped the Lady Cougar run. Grayson County was whistled for being in the net to take it to 20-14, but when the next Lady Devil serve was long, Grayson County had the tie.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.