MORTONS GAP — For a brief moment Trigg County had the Madisonville-North Hopkins volleyball team on its heels in Tuesday’s 2nd Region Tournament quarterfinal match at Hopkins County Central High School.
The moment didn’t last long. The Lady Maroons survived a hiccup in the second set and won 3-1 (25-9, 23-25, 25-8, 25-13) to advance to tonight’s semiinals against defending region champion Christian County.
“We didn’t play as well as we could have tonight, but we fought back in the end,” North sophomore Sophie Metheny said. “To beat Christian County we are going to have to be a lot more intense and play with a lot more heart. Sometimes we forget how to keep up the energy and play at the same level no matter what, and it’s really important we do that against Christian County.”
The victor y puts the Lady Maroons (21-16) in the region semiinals for the second straight year, but now they are looking to advance to the championship for the irst time since 2006 — a goal the team has had from the beginning of the season.
“Any time that you can finish your season by playing for a championship, that’s a positive way to end it,” North coach Mike Zimer said. “For a team in Western Kentucky, it’s about winning the region for the opportunity to get to state. That’s your main goal because once you get there you are going to play some very, very good teams. Any time we can compete for a championship I am happy.”
Apart from the second set and a momentary lapse in the fourth set, the Lady Maroons were in control on Tuesday to win for the seventh time in their last eight matches.
After being tied with 5th District champion Trigg County 6-6 in the opening set, the Lady Maroons won 19 of the next 22 points to claim an early advantage. North and Trigg County traded the lead back and forth in the second set before the Lady Wildcats jumped ahead for good to even the score at 1-1.
Trigg County kept the momentum in the opening moments of the third set and took a 3-0 lead, but then the Lady Maroons erupted for 13 straight points to pull away for a decisive 25-8 victory. The ability to shake off frustrating sets has been key this year for North.
“We have done that quite a few times this season,” Zimmer said. “If we maintain the energy level then we can bounce back. If we are positive about how we are playing then that allows us to fight back. It’s all about what’s on their heart and how they’re playing.”
Trigg County kept up with North early in the fourth set and had the match tied at 9-9, but the Lady Maroons slammed the door shut on the Lady Wildcats’ season with a late run, which was finished off with a Tailor Tandy kill for the match point.
North had 42 kills and 18 aces in the match. Olivia Thomas led at the net with 11 kills and two blocks, while Metheny finished with a matchhigh seven aces, 10 kills and 14 digs. Averi Moody (eight kills, two blocks), Mallory Daniel (17 digs, seven kills, five aces) and Livvy Wagoner (32 assists) also had productive nights for the Lady Maroons, who are the only non-district champion to advance to the 2nd
Henderson County and Caldwell County will play in today’s first semifinal match at 5:30 p.m., followed by North and Christian County at 7:30 p.m.