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It was a night of tension and excitement Monday as border rivals, the Carroll County Lady Panthers and the Trimble County Lady Raiders, battled in high school volleyball for the third time this season. While the earlier games had been close, Monday’s match was a nail-biter as Carroll threatened to end Trimble’s lengthy win streak over North Central Kentucky Conference foes—a streak that dates back to 2010. In the end, the Lady Raiders rallied from behind to win the match 2 games to 1 (25-21, 15-25, 26-24).
The first game was tied four times before Trimble pulled out to a slim, 19-16 lead and held on to win.
In the second game, both teams traded points early before Carroll County slipped out to an 11-6 lead forcing Trimble Coach Ruth Staples to call a timeout to try to settle her team. On the strength of a strong serving attack the Lady Panthers continued to score almost at will and led 21-10 before Staples called a second timeout to encourage her team. The next three points belonged to Trimble County but Carroll eventually pulled out to a 25-15 win.
“The second game we had a good start with our serving and we were able to keep that momentum going,” Carroll Coach Lynn Eaglin said. “On that second game our serving was 94 percent and on the third game our serving was down to 80 percent, but we got burned on the holes.”
The Lady Raiders went to work early in the third and deciding game, leading 5-2 before Carroll edged back to tie the game at 8-8. The score was knotted again at 9-9 before Trimble scored three straight for a 12-9 advantage. Carroll pulled within one at 12-11 before the Lady Raiders raced out to a 19-13 advantage. The pendulum of momentum swung again in favor of the Lady Panthers who clawed back into the game to trail 20-18. Trimble again pulled out to a four-point lead (22-18) before Carroll County charged back to eventually tie the game at 23-23, then pull ahead 24-23.
Trailing by a point and with the team’s 42-game win streak against NCKC foes on the line Trimble Coach Staples called a timeout.
“I told them we need a good pass, a good set and a kill—that’s what I say at every timeout. Don’t do anything different. We didn’t communicate well tonight at all.”
Trimble scored the next three points to claim the win against a very determined Lady Panther team.
“A win is a win and I’ll take it. And if we had lost, I would’ve taken that, too, because if we had lost it’s because we got out-played,” Staples said. “Carroll County played great tonight and they had our number. Somehow we pulled it out. It’s a great rivalry.”
“We just came up short on the end there,” Eaglin said. “There’s nothing negative I can say about my team. We played every play with a lot of heart, a lot of fight and we just came up short. So many of the Trimble County fans have complimented us on how much our team has improved and we’re still making strides.”
Both teams had looked forward to the matchup after having battled to close decisions earlier in the season. A greatly improved Carroll County team nearly defeated highly respected Trimble in their first outing at Bedford on Aug. 24, the Lady Raiders winning 2-1 ( 25-15, 17-25, 25-23). Trimble also defeated the Lady Panthers in the 8th Region Class A tournament, 25-17, 25-22.
“They were hungry for tonight,” Eaglin said of her team. “Everybody had a day off today and I don’t know if maybe that had something to do with it, getting out of the sequence of school.”
Both schools are on fall break this week and both coaches felt being off from school on Monday might have been a factor in the way both teams played.
“We’re on fall break so I think my girls were asleep and we didn’t wake up until just now,” Staples said. “I think our girls just put too much pressure on themselves because they didn’t want to lose and they played not to lose instead of playing to win. I don’t know how we were able to play through it. I’m just proud of them that they were able to play through it, especially the younger girls.”
Eaglin said facing a strong team like Trimble will help prepare her team for upcoming postseason play at the district level. “Trimble’s a good caliber team,” she said. “Going into the end of the season you want to play a good, strong team, so tonight’s game helped us a lot.”