Darren Doyle, story and photos:
It was an emotional night for the Lady Cats as they fell to Grayson County in three sets during the first round of the District 12 tournament, hosted by Edmonson County at ECHS on Monday night.
Four seniors played their last volleyball game as Lady Cats as they were eliminated from the tournament with the loss.
Set one began with plenty of fire from both sides as Edmonson took the lead early, but Grayson came for business and wouldn't allow the Lady Cats much room for comfort.
Grayson County led 11-8 as the Lady Cats battled back and forced a Lady Cougar timeout as EC cut the lead to 11-10. That would be all the offense Edmonson County would muster in that set as Grayson County went on a blistering 14-0 run to end the set 25-10.
The Lady Cats regrouped and came out much stronger in set 2; however, Grayson was still able to put an early run together as they forced an EC timeout at 9-5. The Lady Cats battled back to cut their deficit 10-11 but Grayson went on another run to take a 16-12 lead. Once again, the Lady Cats showed plenty of grit as they tied the score at 16, which forced a Grayson timeout.
Edmonson County refused to go quietly, but the Lady Cougars showed their strength with another run as they finished the set 25-20 and a 2-0 lead.
Set three was much like the second set but the Lady Cats found themselves in an early hole as they were forced to call an early timeout, trailing 6-2. Feeling the pressure, Edmonson County battled back to tie the score at 10 but Grayson County was able to assemble yet another run to allow just enough of a cushion to keep the Lady Cats at bay.
Grayson went on to take the set 25-19 and the game 3-0 as they advanced to the district finals on Tuesday night, where they will face Trinity, the winner over Butler County, which also took place on Monday night.
Edmonson County finishes the season with a record of 8-20. The Lady Cats will say goodbye to seniors Graci Walden, Madison Doyle, Karissa Waldrop, and Ashton Blevins.
Head Coach Bridgett Poteet discussed tonight's game as she also reflected on the season.
"There were some really good things that happened tonight, some really good moments," she said. "That showed that they had some fight, that they wanted to fight back, but they fell into some old habits at times where their confidence dropped and they started making mistakes. And they had a hard time overcoming that."
While the season ended on a bitter note, Coach Poteet had plenty of praise for her team and is already looking forward to another season with young talent.
"There was a lot of people that had no faith in these girls, but they showed that they can do this. They can win. They have the skills and ability, but they also have to mentally do it. We're going to miss these seniors and I'm sad that I only had them for one year, but we do have a bright future ahead. We have plenty of young talent coming on."