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Paoli rolls past Crawford, 3-0

September 26, 2012
The Crawford County Lady Pack knew they had a tough home stand in their Patoka Lake Athletic Conference volleyball match Monday, Sept. 17, with visiting Paoli, ranked No. 8 in the state in Class 2A. Paoli won in a three-game round, but Crawford County coach Angie Allen wasn't disappointed in her team's performance, as the Lady Pack fought to the very end.

"Tonight, they played as a team," Allen said. "I told them tonight they showed myself, they showed one another and they showed the spectators what they're capable of. They played really well. I absolutely have no complaints whatsoever. They just did really well. They did an awesome job tonight."

Crawford County fought with the Lady Rams early in game one, down just 9-7 following a Paoli foot fault on serve. The Lady Rams, however, then made a 10-1 run to lead 19-8, going on to post a 25-13 win.

"We've made some changes," Allen said. "We've thrown in a libero, and we've been making some others. If they're not passing, we'll get other girls to pass for them on the back row. We've even incorporated putting some girls in to serve if we have girls that are not serving well. I just think all those little things together make the other girls think and work harder because they don't want to lose their position, for one thing. It's worked out for the best so far."

The Lady Pack got an early 4-1 lead in game two. Paoli rallied to lead 7-6 and then came a series of points-swapping until Crawford County gained a 17-13 lead following three Paoli errors and a block for a kill by Kayle Elsea. Paoli then went on a 5-0 run with kills from Kennedy Nelson and a pair of service aces by Sophia Sears. From that point, the Lady Rams had the upper hand and went on for the 25-19 win.

"We were digging balls," Allen said. "We had some overpasses, and you can expect those mistakes, but we were setting up. We were hitting. We were covering. But, overall, they came together as a team and they played as a team. They communicated as a team."

Game three saw eight lead changes and 15 ties. Crawford County led early at 6-2 following kills by Elsea and two aces by Brooke Sauer. Sears tied the match at 8-all with two kills. Another swap meet started then Paoli made three errors to allow Crawford County an 11-10 edge. The Lady Pack came back to lead briefly, 14-11, until Paoli made another run, with Hannah Balsmeyer drilling two aces to put Paoli on top again, 16-15.

The Lady Rams held the advantage, but Crawford County was answering every point to 23-22. Paoli erred twice again, and Crawford County went on top again, 24-23. Sears killed twice as Paoli went back on top, 25-24.

Elsea gave Crawford County another kill, and Paoli then misfired as Crawford County took the lead, 26-25. From that point, however, the game belonged to Paoli, with Sears killing and then a putting in an ace for the 28-26 game and match win.

"Honestly, I wasn't expecting to be as close as what we were, especially the last two (games)," Allen said. "Paoli, I think they're ranked eighth, so they have a pretty decent team. I was hoping we could just competitively stay with them, and we did that tonight."

"We just kept rallying back and forth," she said. "It was awesome. The big thing that just keeps coming to my mind is they played as a team. They played together as a team. That's a big thing for them."

Elsea led Crawford County with six kills, and Sauer finished with three kills and two service aces. The Lady Pack missed nine serves and had three aces for the night. Crawford County had 16 errors.

"Our girls weren't intimidated at all," Allen said. "Our girls had in mind they wanted to come out and play hard tonight against Paoli. One of Paoli's coaches (Jolynne Cruz) helped coach here last year, so they wanted to come out and show them what they were capable of doing."

Sears led Paoli with 14 kills and five aces, and Nelson had 10 kills. Lily Eubank had seven kills, and Hannah Balsmeyer finished with six kills and two aces. Riley Balsmeyer added five aces on serve. Paoli missed eight serves but had 14 aces. Errors were a problem for the Lady Rams, who committed 30.

"I didn't expect them to miss as many (serves) as what they did," Allen said. "That's not to say, if they wouldn't have had those errors, the score wouldn't have been more than what it was, they wouldn't have had more points than what they did have."

Allen said her team still has to work on its passing.

"We have to continue getting our passes to our target and not over-passing," she said. "So we can get some sets, so we can set our offense and set our girls up so we can get some short sets. So we can get some of those going across. We cannot keep doing high balls. They figure it out, and they're ready for it. We've got to work on our passing."

"I am very happy with what I'm seeing right now," Allen said. "I'm very happy with the girls tonight and their overall playing. I'm hoping we can take this and build on it and go with it."

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