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Lady Highlanders take crown from Castle


Class 4A Regional


November 06, 2013
The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders brought out the heavy artillery last Tuesday night to bring down the Castle Lady Knights in the volleyball regional at Seymour. After weathering some early problems, Floyd Central got the job done for a 3-1 win.

SYDNEY
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Floyd Central's Sydney Ingle (4) had 23 kills in the Lady Highlanders' 3-1 regional championship win against the Castle Lady Knights. Photo by Wade Bell
"We picked it up, without question," Floyd Central coach Bart Powell said. "Even when they got close, we picked it up again. … Thank goodness our ball control was decent enough that we could run the middle tonight. If there's a positive in it, that was definitely it."

Floyd Central didn't get the best of starts and the Lady Knights tried to take advantage of every opportunity given to them. Floyd Central held a two-point edge early, then committed three straight hitting errors, allowing Castle to go in front. Floyd Central tied the game at 9 and 10, but more errors allowed the Lady Knights to get some breathing space, 19-13, on a service ace by Aubrey Carter.

Floyd Central later closed the gap to one on three straight kills by Mikaila Humphrey and Tierney Flaherty. That wasn't enough to stop Castle, however, as Rebecca Nunge put away three straight kills for the 25-21 win.

The Floyd Central players admitted they came into the match more confident than they should have.

"I think we came out a little stagnant," senior Brooke Hinton said. "In the locker room before the game, we were talking about who Castle had played beforehand and what kind of competition they've had. I think we were overconfident a little bit. It kind of put us back into reality. We came out the second game ready to play."

"I think it was overconfidence," senior Sydney Ingle said. "I think we came in expecting to just roll, and we didn't. They came out and they played their game, and we just weren't prepared for it."

The Lady Highlanders regrouped and completely turned their game around. Floyd Central came out swinging and launched an immediate offensive for a 14-3 lead. Castle could find no foothold, and the Lady Highlanders pounded their way to a 25-15 win.

"We talked about picking up the energy and coming out stronger," Flaherty said. "We had previously beat them, so we talked about what we needed to do to beat them. We knew we were going to bounce back. We knew we just had to pick it up."

Floyd Central kept the momentum in game three, taking a 7-2 lead. The Lady Highlanders later committed three errors, allowing Castle to within three, 12-9. Gwyn Jones, Remi Bowman and Kaylie Dempster pushed the Lady Highlander advantage back to six, 15-9. From there, the Lady Highlanders dominated, going on to win 25-16.

"We talked about how we needed to pick up our serving errors and our serve-receive needed to get better," Ingle said. "Once we picked up on those, it gave us more confidence because we kept getting kills. We also talked about that we needed to change what we were doing or they were just going to completely dominate."

"We came out and did what we needed to do," Flaherty said. "We cut down our errors and we made them make more errors."

Castle was not about to be undone so quickly, however, and came back fighting in game four. The Lady Knights and Lady Highlanders fought through eight ties and seven lead changes through the first half of the game. Hinton finally broke the back-and-forth melee with a service ace for a 15-13 lead. Madison Snyder put a Castle shot out of bounds, forcing the Lady Knights to call time-out at 16-13, Floyd Central leading.

"It was kind of like the Seymour match," Powell said. "We just kind of let them hang around instead of just bury them, and they did a nice job. They were attacking the ball nicely, especially that overpass that they bombed."

Nunge pulled Castle within one with two straight kills, and the Lady Knights later tied the game at 17 with a block for a kill. Bowman tipped for a Floyd Central point and Castle hit out of bounds twice, the Floyd Central advantage back to three. Castle fought back again with three kills to tie at 20. Ingle responded with four kills in the final run as the Lady Highlanders got the 25-21 game and regional win.

"We were 12-8 at one time, so that's 17 in a row," Powell said. "We got beat by Mercy in four, and it gave us a lot of confidence obviously, taking Mercy an extra set. They're really good, and ever since then, we've been playing with a lot of confidence."

"It feels really good," Ingle said. "Coach said at the beginning of the season, when we kept losing a couple in a row, he said it wasn't we needed to peak right away. He said we needed to peak at the right time, and we definitely did. We peaked right when we needed it most, and that's what's carried us through this."

Ingle led Floyd Central (29-8) with 23 kills, and Jones and Humphrey followed with nine kills each. Bowman had eight kills. The Lady Highlanders missed eight serves, had six aces and made 22 errors.

"My two middles played outstanding tonight, Jonesy and Engle," Powell said. "Engle plays back row and plays all the way around. She carried us; both of those guys carried us."

"(Ingle's) a whole different player than she was at the beginning of the year, and that's why she's going to Western Kentucky to play," he said. "She's got the ability to do those things. She definitely led us tonight."

Nunge led Castle with 22 kills. The Lady Knights missed four serves, had four aces and made 24 errors.

One big key for the Lady Highlanders was finding Castle's open holes on defense, including the back line, where Floyd Central scored several points.

"We can usually read what they're going to do, so we're already moving there," Flaherty said. "We watch a lot of film and we try to look at where the teams play their defense. Then, our coaches, throughout the match, they'll look and say, 'Put the ball right here,' and we'll put it there."

*****

The Lady Highlanders met Class 4A No. 2 Avon in the Seymour Semi-state on Saturday morning and knew what to expect, having played them in a tournament during the regular season.

Floyd Central felt like it had its best chance for a win, peaking at the right time of the season, but it was not to be. Avon swept the Lady Highlanders, 25-20, 25-22, 25-16.

Floyd Central finished the season with a record of 29-9.

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Schuler Bauer
Barbara Shaw
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