Trimble defeats Carroll 2-0

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By Kristin Beck

It should have been a long, knockdown, drag out, three-game fight between Carroll County and their border rival Trimble County, a team that beat them four games to one last season. Instead, the Lady Panthers stumbled out of their corner and into the ring against a team who would show no mercy.

The problems for Carroll began even before the first whistle blew. Lady Panther head coach Kristen Hooper said starting setter Caitlyn Burke was not able to play in the first game at the last minute because the referees deemed it unacceptable for her to play with a Band-Aid covering an earring in her ear cartilage, even though she has done so in the past. Hooper literally plucked JV setter Emily Baker out of the stands and inserted her into the starting lineup.

“(Emily) did a phenomenal job stepping in,” Hooper said. “I was really impressed with her tonight, being able to step in that first game and do as good of a job as she did. She really put the ball up there and did a nice job.”

Once the game finally got underway, the Lady Raiders built an early 8-1 lead, forcing Hooper to take a timeout. The lead extended to 11-1 before the home team began to battle back. They cut the lead to four, 15-11, on an ace by Celess Parson, but Trimble pulled away, winning 25-16.

In game two, the teams stayed close in the beginning, and the Lady Panthers were within one after an ace by Kristen Amick, 6-7. However, the serve went back over to the Lady Raiders, and Kelsey Courtney stepped up and scored four straight points. With a seven-point lead, Paige Black put the game out of reach, serving six straight, including one ace. Trimble won the game, 25-12.

“I think my girls came ready to play tonight,” Trimble head coach Ruth Staples said. “We missed four serves in the first game, still able to pull the victory out. The second game we only missed one serve. I told them to be more mentally prepared serving, and it must have worked.”

Hooper said her team just fell apart. “Trimble County is not a team to just hand it over to you; they’re going to make you earn it, and we certainly did not earn it.”

Carroll logged eight serving errors and six serve/receive errors in the match, as well as 13 digging errors that really made the head coach cringe. “Between digging errors and serving errors, we pretty much just gave them the game. They didn’t have to do much but be consistent and get the ball over the net, and we just kind of fell apart.”

On the positive side, Leah Chandler had three kills, while Erin Spradling and Ariel Hotfil both had a kill and Amick registered two aces.

For the Lady Raiders, Sara Kuner was 19 for 19 serving with four aces and 10 for 10 on her sets. Courtney was 5 for 5 with two aces and 10 for 10 on attacks with six kills and also had six blocks. Black was 9 for 11 serving with five aces and four for six in attacks with four kills. McKenna Ginn was 27 for 27 setting and two for two serving with one ace.

“Our game plan is always to bump, set and attack,” Staples said. “As long as we execute that offense, we do well. Letting them attack on us puts us on defense, and that’s not what we want to see. In volleyball, the winning team is usually the attacker, and that’s with the serve and with the attacks.”

Staples said their goal is to win the Class A and make it to the Class A State, something they were one game away from achieving last year. They also want to win the two tournaments they were runners-up in last season. “If we keep this up, I think we’ll do well,” she said.

Hooper said she was disappointed in the results, but still confident in her team’s capabilities.

The Lady Panthers’ took on South Oldham yesterday at home. Results were unavailable by press time. In previewing the matchup, Hooper said her team needed to come in with a better attitude or else they would get rolled over. 

“Whether they believe it or not, they’re a good team,” she said. “They’ve got to believe in each other, and that’s where it all starts. From there, the physical aspect of just making sure we do the little things right, like getting down on our passes and keeping our serves tough coming over the net like we did against Gallatin, that’s going to keep us in the game, and that’s what’s going to help us win.

“It’s still early; there’s plenty of the season left, and I hope they’re able to turn it around. I know they can.”