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PREP VOLLEYBALL: LaRue County falls in quarterfinals (10/22)

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By Greg Crews

 

By GREG CREWS gcrews@thenewsenterprise.com CECILIA — Just one point away from claiming the first game of their 5th Region Volleyball Tournament quarterfinal, the LaRue County Lady Hawks ran into a brick wall on Tuesday night. Despite a six-point lead, the Lady Hawks couldn’t close the door on the Marion County Lady Knights, who put together an 11-1 run to close out the game before claiming a 27-25, 25-21 victory at Central Hardin High School. “There was a questionable call on a game point and I think that got to us and took our momentum a little bit,” said first-year LaRue County coach Ben Schell. “The game was almost over, we knew we were about to win, but Marion did what it took to win.” With her sixth kill of the game, sophomore outside hitter Brea Huhn set up game point for the Lady Hawks (20-12-2) at 24-18. Then the wheels came off. Behind two errant LaRue County shots and three Marion County kills and a block, the Lady Knights tied up the game at 24-all. A Marion County error gave LaRue County another game point, but three straight kills by senior middle hitter Kaitlin Knoop sealed the game for the Lady Knights, who advance to tonight’s 7:30 semifinal against Central Hardin, the winner of Tuesday’s late quarterfinal. “We didn’t play real well but the thing I liked is that we kept plugging away and eventually it paid off. We finally got things going there at the end of the first game,” Marion County coach David Hibbard said. “And to be honest, we got lucky. Every once in a while you need a little luck. “After we came back and won that first game we felt like we couldn’t lose. We really didn’t show that in our play the second game, but we really felt good about it.” A refocused LaRue County team came out in the second game and pulled out to a 3-0 lead. After four ties, Marion County (28-13) pulled ahead at 14-13 and never relinquished its lead. “They did a pretty good job of settling down before that second game,” Schell said. “We were up for a lot of the second game. In the past, after we drop the first game, we have had trouble coming back in that second game, but we were right there with them the whole way.” Huhn led LaRue County with eight kills and an ace, while junior outside hitter Melanie Huhn added six kills and sophomore setter Molly Kennedy finished with 12 assists, three aces and a kill. Sophomore middle hitter Lauren Patterson recorded two blocks and an assist, senior outside hitter Megan Mauldin added two kills, an assist and a block and sophomore setter Angelina Marcum notched two aces. “That first game (Brea) was getting up and hammering the ball and Molly Kennedy was doing a good job of setting her up,” Schell said. Four players recorded four or more kills for Marion County. Knoop led the way with seven kills and four blocks. “Kaitlin is the one who really got us going on the run in the first game,” Hibbard said. “She has really been our go-to player all season and she came up big tonight.” The loss caps the second 20-win season in program history for LaRue County, which loses only two seniors from this year’s team — libero Allie Perkins and Mauldin. “It was a very successful season,” Schell said. “We didn’t do what we wanted to do in region or in district, but it was a good year. People didn’t expect anything out of us, but we got 20 wins for only the second time, and we did some pretty big things.” Greg Crews can be reached at 505-1754