North stays undefeated in district

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - The ‘Volleyball Parity Tour’ made a stop in Mount Washington last Tuesday and it produced another thrilling match between two Bullitt County and 29th District rivals.

In the end, North Bullitt managed to stay undefeated in district play this season with a memorable 25-22, 18-25, 25-23 victory over Bullitt East.

Two of the three intra-county volleyball matches to this point have gone to a third game with a 25-23 margin at the end while the other was decided in two games, but the second game went all the way to 30-28.

North Bullitt has played nearly twice as many matches as Bullitt East to this point in the season and they are undefeated in district play at 3-0. Bullitt Central is second at 2-1 while Spencer County is 1-2 and Bullitt East 0-3.

The second half of the intra-district season will start this week when Bullitt East travels to North Bullitt for the rematch on Thursday. The varsity match will start at around 7:30 p.m.

This is the final season for this district alignment. The Bullitt County schools will be shifted to the Sixth Region starting next season from the Eighth Region. Like in basketball, the county schools will not even be in the same district. North Bullitt and Bullitt Central will play with Moore, Evangel and Southern while Bullitt East will have to battle in a district with 2009 state champion Mercy along with Whitefield Academy and Fern Creek.

Tuesday’s meeting in Mount Washington was emotional for first-year North Bullitt head coach Ashley Byerley who played for Bullitt East, but now wears green and gold.

“I coach for North Bullitt, but I’ll never forget my own experience at Bullitt East,” the coach said. “BE has always had a strong program, but beating them is the same to me as beating any team. It always feels good to win.”

This victory was not in the bag until the very end. Bullitt East had seized the momentum when North Bullitt had trouble with its passing in the second game.

“Our second game was a struggle with passing and setting,” Byerley said. “Therefore, I keep emphasizing the important of our passing. When we had a great pass, in return we had a great set and hit. Therefore, the passing is what I believe tilted it in our favor because we made the plays necessary to pull ahead.”

At times this season the players have wanted to play well so much in the intra-county contests that they have forced the action too much instead of letting the game come to them.

“Any time you play a rival, you ant to bring your best,” Byerley pointed out. “I don’t feel like my team played to their potential against East and we made some silly mistakes. Everyone was having off night on our end. However, some credit has to go to Bullitt East for putting us in that situation.”

Bullitt East head coach Ed Fisher and his team have been battling injuries for much of the season. The Lady Chargers played without two starters last week but the coach expects to have both Katelyn Bowman and Ashley Quaack back for the Thursday rematch.

“Our team played well and showed a lot of heart,” Fisher said of the Tuesday match. “North Bullitt has some very good hitters. Bowman has been out of the middle since the South Oldham match. That put us at a disadvantage with less blocking up front.

“We are just trying to get healthy,” the coach added. “We have a very favorable remaining schedule. And, we still have two varsity tournaments coming up which will help us leading into the district tournament.”

Since finishing second in the First Spike Invitational at the Ohio Valley Volleyball Center, North Bullitt had won three of four matches before taking on Bullitt East.

The wins came over Spencer County (25-11, 25-12) and Jeffersontown (25-19, 25-21) on the road before they came home and beat Southern (25-18, 25-12). There was also a loss on the road to a strong Bethlehem team (25-17, 25-21). A night after the Bullitt East game, North Bullitt dropped a (26-24, 25-19) outcome to Presentation.

Bullitt East has only two wins this season, but have played a strong schedule. Just before playing North Bullitt they also lost to South Oldham (25-13, 25-10) and a couple of days after fell to Bethlehem (25-11, 25-14).

Since beating Bullitt East two weeks ago, Bullitt Central has posted a 2-1 mark to move to 8-3 overall.

The two wins came over Bardstown (25-22, 25-22) as well as beating Martha Layne Collins (23-25, 25-19, 25-13). The short winning streak was stopped last week by Nelson County in a tight match (25-20, 20-25, 25-21).

Bullitt Central and North Bullitt will clash for the second time this season next Tuesday at North Bullitt.