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MOUNT WASHINGTON – It wasn’t exactly the way that first-year North Bullitt volleyball coach Jeanette Pryor had envisioned the last game of the season.
Still, despite playing with a depleted roster in the first round of the Eighth Region Tournament at Bullitt East last Tuesday, Pryor was proud of the way her team played before falling 25-14, 25-18 to tournament favorite Oldham County.
North Bullitt went into battle with just a handful of regulars and had to insert some players who had little or not varsity experience this season including a pair of eighth-graders.
Pryor wasn’t going into details as to why some players missed this game.
“I’m happy with the effort that was applied,” the coach said. “There were some girls that didn’t have as much experience as others out there. They stepped up to the challenge. Everybody who was out there played their best.”
Despite a tough opening foe and the off-court distractions, Pryor felt her team was ready for the Lady Colonels.
“They definitely came with the idea of winning,” the coach said. “You can’t come into a game defeated already. My expectation is that they play to the best of their ability. I want them to give 100 or 110 percent.”
North Bullitt was coming off a second straight runner-up finish in the 27th District Tournament to Bullitt East. A year ago, the Lady Eagles had reached the regional semi-finals before losing to an Oldham County team and had all of that team back.
There was a tough draw as the first round pairings put North Bullitt facing Oldham County, the winner of the 28th District Tournament. The two 28th District representatives, always from Oldham County, have met in the last five regional finals.
(That was the case again last week as North Oldham avenged a loss to Oldham County in the district final to win the regional title to advance to the state tournament this week in Louisville.)
With only two regular front line players in the line-up, North Bullitt had to go with a single blocking formation. Either senior Hannah Scott or senior Sara Schott had to handle all the action at the net.
“The changes in the line-up didn’t help,” Pryor said. “We were thrown off by that. With a new line-up and the girls not used to each other, it took us a while to get going.”
Oldham County won the first four points of the match and the Lady Colonels were up 14-2 and 15-3 before North Bullitt finally won a point off their own serve. Scott was doing the serving and Schott was controlling the next as North Bullitt won six straight points, but those were the only points the green and gold could manage off their own serve in the first game as they lost 15-14.
In the second game, North Bullitt started slowly again, trailing 6-1 and 11-5 before getting a pair of ‘aces’ from eighth-grader Caitlin Crowder pulled them within 11-8. North Bullitt managed to narrow the gap to 18-16 when senior Brandi Finn served four straight winning points, but Oldham County answered with five straight points to seal the outcome.
The two teams had not met in the regular season.
“I had heard that they were solid,” Pryor said. “One of our players played with some of them during the club season. They weren’t going to make any silly mistakes. We had to play solid.”
Pryor was happy with her first season coaching high school volleyball.
“There is definitely a lot of talent and good girls coming up that are excited about playing volleyball,” the coach said. “The definitely got a lot better ruing the season. I saw tremendous improvement.”