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MOUNT WASHINGTON – For the second time in three weeks, the Bullitt East Lady Chargers swept through their rivals from Bullitt Central in straight games, winning 25-9, 25-12, 25-15 on Monday night.
It was a powerful performance for the Lady Chargers as they played their power game well, getting the ball down behind the hitting of senior Shelby Graham and junior Jennifer Cischke.
The two stepped up after Bullitt East lost sophomore middle blocker Paxton Gordon over the weekend after she suffered a stomach aliment and had to have surgery. She will miss the rest of the season. Her surgery was on Sunday morning and she is not expected back home until Friday.
Bullitt East had not played since last Tuesday and with a pre-planned fund-raiser on the next two days, the team was off the court for an extended period of time before practicing on Sunday night in preparation for the match on Monday.
“They were away from volleyball for like six days,” Bullitt East head coach Ed Fisher said. “We just practiced last night and showed up tonight (since there is no school this week in Bullitt County for Fall Break).”
Bullitt East trailed 1-0 in the start of both the first and second game, but otherwise they led throughout. In fact, the only tie that Bullitt Central could muster was at 8-8 early in the third game.
In the first game, Bullitt East had runs of 8-0 and 12-2. In the second game, the Lady Cougars pulled to within 8-7 only to have Bullitt East score the next ten points. When it was 8-8 in the third game, Bullitt East answered with 11 of the next 14 points to subdue any comeback hopes Bullitt Central had.
Bullitt East just hit the ball harder at the net and Bullitt Central could not get an effective block going.
“Those two came out and gave us a lot of leadership,” Fisher said of Graham and Cischke. “Shelby was strong tonight and Jennifer was an outside hitter for us last year and is not a middle hitter. She has helped us on offense.”
Bullitt Central head coach Katie VanVactor thought Graham was the difference in the match.
“16 had a great night,” the coach said. “She as hitting and jumping and serving well. She had a phenomenal game.”
VanVactor isn’t real sure what she is going to get out of her team from match to match.
“I think it is our girls and how they feel on any given day,” the coach said. “On Thursday they played their best match of the year. We mentally change from day-to-day.”
Bullitt Central won just five matches last season and while they have already won six matches this fall, the team just doesn’t have the toughness to meet the tougher challenges on the schedule at this point.
“We just want to keep it simple and build them up so that they fell confident,” VanVactor pointed out. “We’re trying to build their mental toughness and be more positive when they play.”
Bullitt Central picked up that sixth win last Thursday when they cruised past Beth Haven in three straight games. The Lady Cougars still have four matches remaining over the final two weeks before they host the 23rd District Tournament which will start on Oct. 22. Bullitt Central has the number two seed behind North Bullitt.
Bullitt East will finish the regular season with a flurry. The Lady Chargers could play as many as 11 matches in 14 days before they enter 24th District play. The Lady Chargers do play North Bullitt next Thursday and in district play they have the number three seed and will play Whitefield Academy in the first round and will be in the bracket opposite Mercy, the nation’s top-ranked volleyball team.