Story by Edmonson Voice Staff, Granville Meredith photos, Kathy Meredith, contributor
The Lady Cats faced district rival tournament host Whitesville-Trinity High School in the first round bye of the Region 3 All “A” Classic Tournament. Playing conditions were definitely adverse having no air conditioning at the Whitesville-Trinity facility. Courtside temperatures exceeded 95 degrees causing KHSAA officials to invoke mandatory 10 minute breaks every 30 minutes of play.
The first set began similar to previous Trinity games with a tight exchange of the lead. But the Lady Cats were able to go on a stretch of six points served by Mikayla Lindsey which caused Trinity to call their first time out with a score of 10-5. Lady Cats increased the lead by another two points before losing the serve back to Trinity. Lady Raiders were able to cut the lead slightly, but when the Lady Cats got the serve back in the hands of senior Mary Chris Waddell, Lady Cats answered with another convincing run of 5 points bringing the score to 17-10. Lady Raiders made a push late in the set, but the Lady Cats controlled the court the remainder of the set winning 25-22.
The second set against Trinity was a closer battle until Lady Cats took their first time out tied at 10-10. Despite the sweltering heat and sweaty hands, the Lady Cats stacked up a series of short runs that would close out the second set with a win of 25-21.
"We'd already beaten Trinity twice this year and both games were extremely hard battles," said senior MaryChris Waddell. "We knew what we were up against and how hard it would be to beat them on their home floor, winning for the third time." She also said the team was unfamiliar with Hancock County as they went into the championship game, but found out that they could certainly hang with ECHS. She said the team also seemed to get easily frustrated, something the Lady Cats took advantage of.
As they began the contest against the Lady Hornets of Hancock County for the Regional Championship, early scoring of the first set was closely matched until a dominant 12 point run by the Lady Cats brought the score to 17-6. Lady Cats continued the pressure growing their lead to an easy win 25-9 for the first set.
As the hot playing conditions began to take its toll on players, the Lady Cats struggled early in the second set, falling behind 12-15. But the Lady Cats rallied back with classic grit and endurance, going on an 8 point run that the Lady Hornets couldn't overcome as EC dominated the rest of the set, winning the game with the final score of 25-17. It's the first time in school history that ECHS Volleyball has won the 3rd Region All “A” Classic Championship.
"The heat was definitely a battle, but when you get a group of girls like us together, we can overcome anything," said senior Madison Kemble. "I'm very proud to be an Edmonson County Lady Cat."
"I think this being our last year motivated us even more to win," said senior Morgan Miller. "As for the heat, I was drowning in sweat...I know it took a toll on the rest of the team as well, but we played through it and came out on top."
Senior Morgan Skaggs said she didn't let the heat affect her too much, but echoed her teammates about coming together. "We pulled together and accomplished something we haven't in a long time," she said. "It feels great to be champs my senior year."
"I think we impressed many people," said junior Dina Hollis, "But there's definitely much more to accomplish."
Senior Elizabeth Woodcock said she was looking forward to the state tournament. "I've played 6 years and have never been. I love my team and am so glad we've made it this far my senior year."
"I'm extremely proud of my team and how much we have accomplished so far this year," said sophomore Mikayla Lindsey. "But we still have goals to reach this season."
"It literally felt like a sauna," said senior Laney Meredith. "I've never been to a state tournament so we're all really excited that our senior year we'll be taking things to the next level. I'm proud of my team...but there's still more to accomplish."
Solid teamwork from serving, setting, and hitting made both games truly enjoyable to watch despite the torturous heat. Lady Cats advance to the Kentucky All “A” Classic Volleyball State Tournament at Mid-America Sports Center in Jeffersontown, Kentucky on September 19th.
The team trophy will be presented to the team at the state tournament.