ALL-STATE VOLLEYBALL: Five area players earn honors (11/10)

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By Ryan O'Gara

With her busy basketball schedule this summer, LaRue County senior middle hitter Ivy Brown couldn’t devote as much time to volleyball as she would have liked.

That’s why when the volleyball season began this fall, she put basketball on the backburner and focused all her energy into volleyball.

That focus paid off Friday as she was named to the Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association Class 2-A All-State first team, 1-of-5 area players to be recognized.

“It’s definitely an honor with volleyball being my second sport,” Brown said. “I don’t spend as much time on it as I should – I missed most of the summer with basketball – but it’s an honor to know coaches think that highly of me.”

It’s all been part of a whirlwind two weeks for Brown, who was named 5th Region Player of the Year, led the Lady Hawks to the region semifinals and will sign a letter of intent to play basketball at Western Kentucky on Thursday.

“I’m just trying to enjoy it all,” said Brown, who admitted she started training for basketball the day after volleyball season ended. “It’s going to fly by, so I’m just trying to take it all in.”

LaRue County senior middle hitter Alley Evans earned second team honors in large part because of her solid all-around game. Brown became the first Lady Hawk to make the All-State team last season and this is the first season LaRue County (24-10) has placed two among the state’s top players.

“The two of them are special because not only could they attack and block, they could play in the back row,” LaRue County coach Ben Schell said. “You can’t replace those kinds of kids. I couldn’t think of two kids I’ve ever coached who have been more deserving of this recognition.”

Elizabethtown senior setter Megan Meek and junior libero Rebecca Hepner joined Brown on the first team. Similar to LaRue County, the Lady Panthers had their first player make the All-State team last year when Brittany Stokan was on the first team, and this year is the first in Elizabethtown’s history it had two players selected.

“To have two players make first team, I couldn’t be more proud of those two kids,” Elizabethtown coach Bart Catlett said. “Wherever we played this year, coaches came up to me and complimented me on our setter and libero. There were certain times I took them for granted because I expected them to play at a high level. But looking back now, they really deserve that honor.”

Central Hardin junior middle hitter Taylor King made the Class 3-A second team. She led the Lady Bruins (29-10) to a district title and the region final.

“I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I saw it coming,” said Central Hardin coach Bill Rineker. “I should be surprised, but I’m not because I’ve been around her for a few years. I know how hard she works and how she dedicated she is.”

Catlett was named Region Coach of the Year after leading the Lady Panthers (26-12) to the top seed in the 17th District tournament and to the region semifinals. He is the first in program history to receive the award.

“It's a huge honor,” Catlett said. “I didn't expect that, but it’s really more of an honor to my team. When we played other teams, they left an impression. I just have the good fortune of being the recipient of that.”

Ryan O’Gara can be reached at 270-505-1754 or rogara@thenewsenterprise.com.