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Lady Highlanders sweep Holy Cross

September 25, 2013
The Floyd Central Lady Highlander volleyball team came off a big weekend against three of the best teams in the country to sweep visiting Holy Cross of Louisville last Tuesday night. While the Lady Highlanders had few problems handling the Lady Cougars, coach Bart Powell said his players may have had other things on their minds.

"We've got a pretty big match tomorrow night (against Providence), and I think we skipped tonight and got to tomorrow night already," he said. "We came off a big weekend of playing three of the top programs in the country and played some exceptional volleyball, New Castle, Avon and Penn.

"We darn-near beat New Castle, and they're No. 5 in the country right now. They turned around and beat Assumption, so I expected a little letdown tonight. Like I said, I think our kids were looking forward more to tomorrow night than they were tonight."

The Lady Highlanders led from the beginning of game one, but Holy Cross wasn't going away easily. Floyd Central got out to a 10-5 lead but then made two hitting mistakes and Holy Cross's Beth Newton aced on serve to cut the gap to two. Floyd Central later pushed the lead to eight, but again the Lady Cougars came back with two kills and a pair of service aces to close the gap to four.

Remi Bowman tipped for a Lady Highlander point, but Holy Cross countered. Sydney Engle slapped in a Floyd Central kill then the Lady Highlanders committed two hitting errors, cutting the gap to three, 23-20. Tierney Flaherty finished off the game with back-to-back kills as Floyd Central got the 25-20 win.

"Up until tonight, our ball control has been spot on," Powell said. "Against some better serving teams this weekend, we had a lot of ball control. Tonight, I don't think our hits were there. Our ball control wasn't there as good."

Holy Cross played much tighter through the first half of game two, trailing by just two, 14-12. The Lady Cougars committed two errors then Engle aced twice. Holy Cross erred again, and Floyd Central's lead was back to seven, 20-13. The Lady Highlanders later had a short breakdown, hitting out of bounds three straight times, allowing the Lady Cougars to close back within three. Floyd Central held on at the end to get a 25-21 win.

"I never really thought we weren't in control of the match," Powell said, "even thought we'd get it to five and they would cut it to two or three."

Floyd Central quickly got a handle on game three with a 16-5 lead, the Lady Highlanders getting six kills on blocks. This time the Lady Cougars would not find their way back into the game as Floyd Central dominated for a 25-13 win.

"It was our serve-receive and our block," Powell said of the difference. "We had six stuff-blocks in game three and our serve receive was very good up until I made some changes. It's our ball control. Every coach can say, if we can receive serve, we're going to be effective. Well, we're really effective if we can receive serve because we've got seven players that can bury the ball."

Engle, a senior, led Floyd Central with 11 kills and two service aces, and Bowman followed with nine kills. Mikaila Humphrey finished with eight kills, and Tierney had seven kills. Gwyn Jones had six kills, and Lauren Koopman had four. The Lady Highlanders missed nine serves, delivered seven aces and had 17 errors.

Powell said one of Bowman's best abilities is being able to read the court.

"That's why she's one of the best in the country," he said. "I thought she served very well tonight, too. We tried a different serve with a couple of kids tonight, and, for the most part, it worked."

Sam Martin led Holy Cross with seven kills, and Newton finished with five kills and three aces on serve. The Lady Cougars misfired five times on serve and had eight aces. Holy Cross had 16 errors.

"I do like our attack," Powell said. "Gwyn Jones is slowly getting back. She hasn't got her legs underneath her yet. She hasn't got a lot of timing but showed some improvement tonight. In my opinion, we're still five weeks away from peaking, and that's what I'm worried about more than anything."


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