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Lady Highlanders fall at New Albany


September 14, 2011
For a while, it looked like the Class 4A ninth-ranked Floyd Central Lady Highlanders were going to handily dispose of country rival and No. 8 New Albany Thursday on the Lady Dawgs' home court. That didn't happen, however, as New Albany rallied from two games down to put away Floyd Central in a five-game marathon.

"That's what happens when you've got a young team," Floyd Central coach Bart Powell said. "We've lost three times this year against three good opponents. We've let them dominate us at the end, which is, hopefully, a learning process. We were up 16-9 in the third (game) and they went on cruise control, and you can't do that against especially a rival let along another really good team."

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Floyd Central senior Rachel Engle rips one of her 16 kills by New Albany’s Katie Perry in the third game of the Lady Dawgs’ five-game win over the Lady Highlanders. Photo by Wade Bell
The Lady Highlanders crushed New Albany early, exploding to a 14-6 lead in game one and going on to win, 25-13.

The Lady Dawgs regrouped in game two and started a tug-of-war with Floyd Central through six ties and four lead changes.

New Albany gained a 13-10 lead before the Lady Highlanders mounted a charge back to cut their deficit to one following a kill by Rachel Engle. The Lady Dawgs then committed four straight hitting errors to allow Floyd Central to regain the lead. Engle pounded in another kill for a 19-15 advantage, but New Albany countered with three kills. A Floyd Central error allowed the Lady Dawgs to tie. Sydney Engle then swatted in a kill to put Floyd Central up for good, as the Lady Highlanders went on to win, 25-22.

Floyd Central raced to a 16-7 lead in game three and appeared ready to take the match. New Albany, however, then launched a barrage for a 10-3 run to the gap to 19-17. Sydney Engle kept Floyd Central in front by three with a kill, but New Albany came back to lead, 22-21, when Shelby Hoskins delivered an ace. Engle delivered two more kills to push Floyd Central back in front by one. However, Kendall Kleer slapped in a kill for the Lady Dawgs and Floyd Central committed two errors to give New Albany the game, 25-23.

"They changed setters in game three," Powell said. "They changed to a 4-7, but then we got up 16-9. I think it was a matter of us not being aggressive. Our serve receive started to fail us a little bit then we couldn't attack like we wanted to. They just outplayed us without question."

Floyd Central began game four with a 4-0 lead, but New Albany again quickly rallied to lead. New Albany kept the advantage until Jamie Wallace aced on serve for a 10-9 Floyd Central lead. That didn't last long, however, as Kleer punched in a kill and Nicole Jones aced to put New Albany on top. The Lady Dawgs went on to win game four, 25-21.

Floyd Central led just once in game five, 2-1, following two New Albany errors. The Lady Dawgs controlled from that point to win the match, 15-11.

"They kept that confidence level and played with confidence for three games, and we played with confidence for 2-1/2," Powell said. "We're playing a freshman and three sophomores, and they're not looking to be the ones to finish games. They're looking to the seniors to finish games. Well, there's spots where you can't get those balls to the seniors. It's a learning curve is what it is."

Rachel Engle led the Lady Highlanders with 16 kills and sister Sydney Engle finished with 11 kills. Remi Bowman and Tierney Flaherty finished with six kills each. Floyd Central missed nine serves, had eight service aces and erred 20 times.

"I think it came down to serve receive there at the end," Powell said. "We couldn't get the ball to Remi and, even when you're passing 10 feet, everybody knows where the ball is going. When you're passing the ball to the net, they have no clue where they're going. That was a huge difference. Rachel dominated for 2-1/2 games and then we kind of slowed down a little bit."

Catlin Lily led New Albany with 20 kills, and Hoskins had 15 kills and two aces. Kleer had 14 kills, and Katie Perry and Jones had five each. New Albany missed 11 serves and had eight aces. The Lady Dawgs had 41 errors.

"We play a tough schedule so that they have to feel this pressure night in and night out," Powell said. "When (Louisville) Manual beat us, we didn't rise to the occasion, and when Sacred Heart beat us the other night, we kind of rose to the occasion and we were about in same the spot we were in the Sacred Heart match. I felt like we should have beat Sacred Heart and just couldn't pull the trigger."

"If you watch the match, it doesn't matter what goes on at the beginning," he said. "It's what goes on the whole match. We're going to figure it out."

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