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HEBRON ESTATES - What a difference nine days makes.
The local volleyball scene was pushing ‘parity’ through the first rotation of matches this season. That first half of the campaign ended on Sept. 6 when North Bullitt slipped past Bullitt East 25-22, 18-25, 25-23.
Last Thursday, the teams met again, this time at North Bullitt. It was like a completely different season as North Bullitt throttled their district rivals, beating the Lady Chargers 25-13, 25-11 in a match that took just 45 minutes.
Other than a 4-3 hole in the first game, North Bullitt never trailed in the match as they moved to 13-6 overall this season.
First-year North Bullitt head coach Ashley Byerley, a former Bullitt East player, didn’t feel that her team played their best match in the first meeting. She was much happier after the quick win on Thursday.
“I wasn’t really surprised by the outcome,” the coach said after meeting with her team. “Our passing was there tonight. When we do that, we can play with anybody. It’s pass, pass, pass.
“I was really proud of the performance tonight,” Byerley said. “They were focused.”
There was no doubt about that. After Bullitt East jumped out to the 4-3 lead in the first game, North Bullitt scored 17 of the first 19 points to take the air out of the visitors. A six point surge at the beginning of the run came behind the serve of junior Brittany Farnsley. North Bullitt also had runs of four and seven points before coasting to the 25-13 victory.
Any hopes Bullitt East had of getting back in the match were squelched early in the second game as the Lady Eagles scored the first five points. It was 13-3 after a six-point surge on the serve of sophomore Kaitlyn Gividen which included a pair of ‘aces’. By that point, Bullitt East head coach Ed Fisher had used both of his time-outs.
In the two games, North Bullitt gave up just three points on poor serves.
Despite the strong first-game, North Bullitt coaches, and even fans, were vocally encouraging the players to go for the quick win.
“All season long we have battled through a topsy-turvy game,” Byerley noted. “That’s a habit they have developed over the years. We have to stop that. We are capable of so much. We have to keep pushing no matter the score.”
There normally isn’t a lot of scouting in regular season volleyball matches, but because the two teams have played each other just nine days earlier, there was some preparation this time.
“We watched some of their serves,” Byerley pointed out. “We have a weakness in serve receive. We work on that and passing. That is our focus.”
It was an evening to forget for Fisher whose team has struggled at times this season with just four wins. The prospects were looking up after the Lady Chargers had beaten Jeffersontown and Fairdale in two matches between the meeting with North Bullitt, but they had nothing available on Thursday, dropping to 0-4 in district play.
“The effort wasn’t there and we didn’t play well,” the coach admitted. “I was very, very surprised. We actually played as a unit in the last two matches. I was very surprised at the effort tonight.”
In the first North Bullitt meeting, Bullitt East played without juniors Ashley Quaack and Katelyn Bowman. Both returned to limited action in this match, but couldn’t sway the play.
“We need to get some chemistry back before district play starts,” Fisher noted. “Hopefully, we can have things work out like last year.”
A year ago, Bullitt East had the number four seed, but upset top-seeded North Bullitt in the first round of district play.
The Lady Eagles will wrap up the number one seed for the district if they beat Bullitt Central at home on Tuesday of this week.
Both Bullitt East and North Bullitt will travel to Elizabethtown on Saturday for an invitational event. The two teams will also play in a tournament at Nelson County on Oct. 1 as they prepare for district play which will take place the week of Oct. 10.