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SHEPHERDSVILLE – The Bullitt East Lady Chargers picked up a huge win during the first two weeks of the high school volleyball season. It was a win that head coach Ed Fisher hopes propels the team to post-season success.
And no, the big win was not a victory over defending state runner-up Mercy, a team that defeated the Lady Chargers a few days later.
The big win came in just the second match of the season as the red and gold traveled into Jefferson County and beat district rival Jeffersontown 25-19, 25-13, 25-22. With the loss to Mercy, Bullitt East stand 1-1 in the district standings.
Still, by beating Jeffersontown, the Chargers could be in a lot better shape for the district tournament than they were a year ago. In 2012, Bullitt East lost to Jeffersontown during the regular season, relegating the Lady Chargers to the number four seed in the district. That put them in the same side of the draw with Mercy, a team that ended their season in the district semi-finals.
Now, with the win over Jeffersontown, Bullitt East will be looking for a the second or third seed (depending on the outcome of their match with Whitefield Academy next Thursday). Being second or third will mean being on the opposite side of the draw in the district tournament and away from Mercy, greatly enhancing the team’s chances of making the Sixth Region Tournament (the top two teams in the district tournament advance to the regional event).
Bullitt East opened the season with a 25-21, 25-9, 25-11 win over Spencer County before knocking off Jeffersontown. The pre-Labor Day part of the season then ended with a setback to Mercy in three sets, 25-8, 25-15, 25-11. Bullitt East was within 19-14 in the second game.
“I like this team,” Fisher said following the setback to Mercy last Monday. “Up until tonight they have played well as a unit. Tonight (against Mercy) there was a little shock and awe.”
Fisher was happy that the master schedule sent out by the Jefferson County school system has his team playing Mercy so early in the season. Now, that match is behind them and they have the rest of the season to gain momentum.
“Now we know what we have to work on,” the coach said. “We have some time off now and we can work on stuff and regroup.”
While Mercy will be the toughest match on the schedule during the regular season, it was the Jeffersontown match that was the most important contest of the early part of the schedule.
“That’s what I told them,” Fisher said. “We had to win the match against Jeffersontown. We can beat Jeffersontown and Fern Creek and then we can play with Whitefield Academy. Now we can focus on Whitefield.”
Bullitt Central Wins
It was a busy opening two weeks for Bullitt Central, but the Lady Cougars came out of it well positioned as they went 3-2. Two of the wins came against district foes.
Coach Katie VanVactor’s squad picked up the biggest of the early wins on Thursday when they beat Moore in four games. The Lady Cougars have started well in matches this season, but have struggled at times to put away opponents. That was the case again against Moore as they won the first two games, but then lost the fourth. They then battled back to win the fourth game, taking the match 25-15, 25-11, 21-25, 25-17.
In the fourth game, Bullitt Central was down 15-12 before rallying for the win.
“Finishing is what we have to work on,” VanVactor said. “It is the opposite of last year. This season we have started well, but we have had a tendency not to finish matches.”
The coach doesn’t think the problems are physical.
“I wasn’t worried,” VanVactor said of dropping the third game to Moore. “I think the girls are mentally tough enough. They just have to believe they can do it.
“I thought in the second game we were playing too slow,” the coach added. “We weren’t playing to our tempo even though we won. The last ten points of the match we got our tempo and that’s the way we should have played all night.”
Bullitt Central also picked up a district win when Evangel had to forfeit. VanVactor was told that the program will not field a varsity squad this season.
The Lady Cougars opened the season with a loss to Martha Layne Collins High School in straight games. The other two matches of the season went to the limit with Bullitt Central beating Doss in five games by taking the fifth game 15-9. It was the opposite outcome against Thomas Nelson as the new school won the final game 15-12.
North Bullitt Rolls
If nothing else, the North Bullitt Lady Eagles got a lot of game experience over the opening two weeks of the season as they played nine matches, winning five.
The Lady Eagles under new head coach Scott Whitlow, kept pace with Bullitt Central in the district race as they beat Moore 25-22, 26-24. In fact, they beat Moore again as the two teams competed in the First Spike Tournament last Saturday at the Ohio Valley Volleyball Center.
North Bullitt went 2-3 in the tourney as they also picked up a win over Beth Haven. They also lost matches to North Hardin, Jeffersontown and LaRue County.
Before the tournament, North Bullitt also defeated Spencer County and Seneca as well as Moore. The only regular season loss was to Martha Layne Collins.
North Bullitt will play host to Bullitt East next Tuesday in the first of two regular season matches between the rivals.