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In past seasons at Elizabethtown, Coach Bart Catlett has mostly had teams which followed orders, no questions asked. This year’s team is not one of those teams.
When the Lady Panthers (19-6) notice a particular area they can improve or adjust during a match, they have the confidence to speak up. In fact, Catlett encourages it.
“They are smart and understand the game so if they see something that I’m not seeing, they’ll get in my ear and say something,” Catlett said.
Case in point: in their five-set win Tuesday against Central Hardin, senior middle hitter Shelby Priddy suggested to Catlett she switch spots with junior middle hitter Hannah Wurth. Catlett noted after the match they weren’t getting enough production on the frontline as they fell behind two sets to one.
The move jumpstarted the Lady Panthers, especially in the fifth set when Wurth had two blocks, Priddy had one and senior outside hitter Lacey Boone had one and Elizabethtown won 15-7.
Catlett doesn’t have anything against the teams which didn’t provide as much input, but he’s enjoying coaching a group which has such a great knowledge of the game.
“I have a lot of trust in my kids that when they come to me and tell me something, we go and try it,” Catlett said. “They play hard and give me enough effort that every now and then, I’ll let them make the call. They’ve been around me long enough to know. They’re starting to understand the system that they know where to attack.”
REFLECTIONS ON A STREAK WELL DONE. Any defeat stings immediately after, but in time, the Central Hardin Lady Bruins will look back at their loss to Elizabethtown as the end to a very special run. The Lady Bruins won 59 straight matches against 5th Region opponents, a streak which began at the start of the 2010 season.
“It was over three years and now that it’s over, we get a chance to look back and say ‘How amazing was that?’ I don’t know if it will ever be done again,” Central Hardin coach Bill Rineker said after the match. “In some weird way, we can almost enjoy that we had that streak. You can’t while it’s happening. It’s a pretty amazing thing.”
Central Hardin’s last region loss had been to Nelson County in the region tournament quarterfinals on Oct. 19, 2009. The Lady Bruins also had won 36 straight against 17th District opponents after losing to Elizabethtown in the district tournament championship on Oct. 14, 2009.
Rineker hopes all of the players who played for the Lady Bruins during the streak will be able to reflect on how spectacular it really was.
“It’s hard to think about the streak and not think about all of the kids who were part of that streak,” Rineker said. “There’s kids from as far back as three-plus years. You have maybe 45 kids who had a part in that streak, so hopefully they all look back on it fondly now.”
MATCH TO WATCH: GREEN COUNTY AT CENTRAL HARDIN. The teams predicted in the preseason to finish atop the region will square off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Cecilia. Green County (22-3) and No. 24 Central Hardin (14-3) have both been as good as advertised. Also on Thursday, Elizabethtown will look to remain unbeaten in district play when it hosts John Hardin (6-9). The Lady Panthers beat the Lady Bulldogs in five sets in the teams’ first meeting.
Ryan O’Gara can be reached at 270-505-1754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.