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For the second straight season, the Lady Panthers were ousted from the first round of the 8th Region Tournament, losing 3-0 to tournament host Simon Kenton on Monday, Oct. 28. The Lady Pioneers pummeled the Lady Panthers – who were without starters senior Michaela Culver and junior Karly Prosser – by scores of 25-7, 25-10, 25-5.
Simon Kenton will play North Oldham – who defeated Martha Layne Collins – Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. at Simon Kenton High School. Junior Sabrina Young was named to the 8th Region All-Tournament team.
“Definitely not the way we wanted to end it,” Carroll head coach Lynn Eaglin said. “We had a couple girls, discipline-wise, I had to sit them out tonight and they didn’t even show up because they didn’t show up yesterday to practice … Our mindset coming in here tonight hurt us, and it showed.”
The Lady Panthers only carry 10 varsity players and normally rotate eight. With Culver and Prosser out, sophomore Allie Simmons and freshman Abby Miracle were called upon and gained some valuable minutes.
“It was good for them to end on this note because, obviously, I’m looking at them to be on the varsity team next year, so it gave them a little exposure going into the new season,” Eaglin said.
However, the short bench also made fatigue a factor in the match. “I don’t think those girls know how much they hurt us by their choice. We got wore out,” she said.
The Lady Panthers fell behind quickly in game one, 7-1, before Eaglin had to call a timeout. The two teams traded points until the Lady Pioneers went on two streaks of four points to extend their lead to 18-5 before serving the ball out of bounds. Young scored on a kill, but that would be Carroll’s last points of the game, as Simon Kenton rattled off seven straight points to end the game, 25-7.
In game two, neither team could retain the serve. Simon Kenton tied the game at 5-5 and scored three straight off Carroll errors. Both teams missed a serve, giving the ball back to the Lady Pioneers who scored three more to give them a 12-6 lead.
Out of a Carroll timeout, Young connected on another attack to give her team the serve. But the Lady Pioneers answered with a kill and went on a 7-0 run that included five serve-receive errors by the Lady Panthers, 20-7. Carroll converted three Simon Kenton mistakes into points, but the Lady Pioneers ended the game on a 4-0 run to win, 25-10.
Game three couldn’t have started out much worse for the Lady Panthers, as the Lady Pioneers jumped out to an 11-0 run. The visitors gained the serve off an attack error and scored two more points before the home team took it back. Simon Kenton and Carroll County traded points before the Lady Pioneers went on a 6-0 run, 20-3.
The Lady Panthers sided out, but couldn’t keep the serve. Simon Kenton scored four straight, before committing an attack error. Stevie Ogburn served the last ball of the Lady Panthers’ season, and the Lady Pioneers ended the game with an attack and a dig error by Carroll County.
Like many competitors in the 8th Region, Simon Kenton is a big school with players committed to one sport and a year-round program, Eaglin said. “I know six or seven of those girls play all year because I’ve seen them, just from my background. That’s something I’m trying to change at my school, to get more people involved in that club ball. Because obviously the more times you touch a ball in the year, the more you are going to get better.”
Eaglin said she wants to have a tougher schedule next year to make it more challenging and prepare her team for tournament play.
“We have this mindset that we can’t beat them because the only time we see them is at the end of the season,” she said. “It would give us a challenge next year and see how well we play.”
The 2014 season for Lady Panthers volleyball will start in January with weight-lifting to get the girls ready for July 15, the official start to the fall season, Eaglin said.
“Our mindset is going to be we win the districts and we’ve got to get further in the region than we do every year,” she said. “We get to the first game – it’s been that way for years – and we’re just done. I’ve got a lot of work to do, not only physically but changing the mentality of my players, too. Let’s hope that it will pay off.”