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Top-ranked Floyd pounds Holy Cross

September 23, 2009
The top-ranked Floyd Central Lady Highlanders gave visiting Holy Cross of Louisville a good skinning last Tuesday night, sweeping the Lady Cougars in three games. Floyd Central coach Bart Powell knew Holy Cross, ranked No. 10 in Kentucky, was a team that could give his Lady Highlanders problems if they allowed it.

"That was a good team that took Mercy five (games) and took Manual four," Powell said of the Lady Cougars. "We just kind of dismantled them in game one. That's probably the best game we've played all year offensively or defensively."

Floyd Central’s Jordan Owens (24) and Rachel Engle (15) put up a wall against a spike attempt by Holy Cross’s Allayna LaPaille. The Lady Highlanders dominated the Lady Cougars, who are ranked No. 10 in Kentucky. Photo by Wade Bell
Dismantle, indeed, is what the Lady Highlanders did, as they exploded to a 17-5 lead. No matter what the Lady Cougars threw at Floyd Central, the Lady Highlanders picked it up in all parts of the court, as they won, 25-11.

"We were a little bit quicker, and our offense was quicker," Powell said.

Game two saw Camry Hinton deliver three quick service aces for a 4-0 lead. This time, however, Holy Cross pulled itself together and slowly chewed its way back into the game. Lynsey Hazelwood pounded in a kill to tie the game at 7, then Sara Schum aced on serve to put Holy Cross in front.

That lasted only briefly, however, as Melanie Stutzman tipped to start a three-point burst for a 10-8 Floyd Central lead. The Lady Highlanders later stretched that to four but then lost some of their luster as the Lady Cougars came back to within two following two Floyd Central errors. Rachel Engle, however, then gave the Lady Highlanders the lift they needed, blocking for a kill following a Holy Cross timeout for a 23-16 lead. The Lady Cougars made one last effort, but Floyd Central held on to get the win, 25-21.

"(Engle) had a couple of big swings, and then Mel had a couple of good dumps," Powell said. "I don't know what it is about game two. We just cannot play with the intensity and fire that we play with in game one. Now, we've only lost one game two all year, but I tried to fix it. I tried to change lineups. We did play very well, and they should have known better. These kids know all these other kids on this other team, and they should have known they're a little bit better than what they showed that first game."

Holy Cross led in game three until Kirsten Kemppainen caught fire with three straight kills for an 8-5 Floyd Central advantage. Kemppainen continued to keep the Lady Cougars at bay until Jenna Conway and Allayna LaPaille delivered three kills to pull the Lady Cougars within two, at 14-12. Kemppainen, Erica White and Stutzman then went on a killing spree for a 17-12 Floyd Central lead, forcing Holy Cross to call timeout. The Lady Cougars never recovered from that point and fell, 25-16.

Powell said Kemppainen was the spark that fired up his team.

"She had three straight kills," he said. "She hit one off the block and tipped one inside. She busted one down the line. She's normally our most effective hitter because of her left hand. It throws everything off. She hasn't peaked yet, and that's good."

Stutzman and Jennifer Smith led the Lady Highlanders (12-0) with 10 kills each. Kemppainen followed with eight kills, Laura Derr had seven, and Engle added six. The Lady Highlanders missed five serves, had five service aces and finished with 15 errors.

"(Jennifer) Smith is getting close to peaking, and she had some dominate swings tonight," Powell said. "If we can get Kirsten firing on the ball a little bit better, we'll be a better team."

Alexia Smith and Hazelwood led Holy Cross with six kills each. Conway finished with five kills, and LaPaille had had four. The Lady Cougars misfired six times on serve and had five aces. Holy Cross had 17 errors.


The Lady Highlanders saw their win streak come to an end last Wednesday night at Louisville Assumption (16-2), who is ranked No. 1 in Kentucky.

Floyd Central kept the match tight through four games — 25-14, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21 — but still suffered its first loss of the season.

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