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Floyd Central’s Kyndall Merritt, right, and Brooke Hinton put double coverage on the ball during a return against visiting Holy Cross. The Lady Highlanders, however, fell in three games. Photos by Wade Bell

Holy Cross blisters Lady Highlanders


September 21, 2011
Floyd Central volleyball coach Bart Powell has seen frustration at every level of the game, including all the way up to the state finals. Last Tuesday, the Lady Highlanders crashed into another wall as they lost to Holy Cross, ranked No. 3 in Kentucky, after leading by five or more points in each of the three games.

"We don't have anybody that's stepping up right now," a frustrated Powell said. "We're a bunch of princesses, and it's very, very frustrating. They've got all the talent in the world, and they're playing as individuals. … We've got to figure out heart."

It appeared the Highlanders were going to cruise to a win in the first game as they raced to a 13-6 lead, forcing the Cougars to call time-out. At that point, Holy Cross marched back with a 7-1 run to cut the deficit to one, 14-13, following three Floyd Central errors.

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Floyd Central’s Sydney Engle (4) and Tierney Flaherty block Holy Cross outside hitter Jenna Conway in the Highlanders’ three-game loss.
The Lady Highlanders committed four more errors as the Lady Cougars took the lead at 18-17 following a service ace by Alayna LaPaille. Jamie Wallace later put Floyd Central back in front with an ace, but Holy Cross quickly retaliated with three straight kills, going on to win, 26-24.

"They kept bringing it, and we just wouldn't fight back," Powell said. "I don't get that. There's just no energy when somebody on the other side gets a kill. Our kids just go to their own corners and hide. You know they're going to get kills. You've got to compete."

The Lady Highlanders began game two with a 9-3 lead, but Holy Cross again rallied with a 6-0 run to tie the game at 9. Sydney Engle had two kills to keep the Lady Highlanders out in front, but Lynsey Hazelwood later pounded in three straight kills for a 14-13 Lady Cougar advantage.

Floyd Central led one more time following a kill by Tierney Flaherty, but it was the last time the Lady Highlanders were in front as Holy Cross cruised to the 25-19 win.

"Some seniors are going to get sat down," Powell said. "That's what's going to happen. Nobody's got a backbone to take the blame for some things, and nobody's got the energy to make things happen. I'm obviously pretty frustrated right now."

As in the first two games, Floyd Central led early in game three, this time holding a 9-4 advantage following a kill by Sydney Engle. Holy Cross roared back with six unanswered points to lead 10-9. Engle slapped in another kill, but Jenna Conway immediately answered for Holy Cross. The Lady Cougars led from that point on for the 25-19 win.

"The first game was 26-24, and we had them," Powell said. "We had five-point leads in each one of those games. We had a five-point lead in game three, a six-point lead in game two and a seven-point lead in game one and lost all of them. That shows me that there is no heart, that they don't care whether they get beat a point or not. So, I've got to make some adjustments."

Rachel Engle led the Lady Highlanders with 15 kills, and Sydney Engle followed with 10. Floyd Central missed six serves, had three service aces and made 19 errors.

Powell said his team also got caught off-guard when Holy Cross switched briefly to a tipping game.

Holy Cross had a kill-fest with 37 for the three games. Conway led the Lady Cougars with 18, and Brooke Hendrick had seven. Lynsey Hazelwood added six kills, Stacey Hazelwood hit for five and LaPaille finished with four.

"They were real nice, and their serve-receive was really good," Powell said. "Holy Cross is a very good volleyball team, obviously. They're top 60 in the country."

Powell said his team has to learn to compete better.

"Without question," he said. "I've got a month to figure it out. That's not very long, and I thought we had it figured out. Obviously, we don't."

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