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PREP VOLLEYBALL NOTEBOOK: Lady Bulldogs get a much-needed break (09/16)

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By Ryan O'Gara

If it seems like forever since the John Hardin Lady Bulldogs have played a match, that’s because it has been.

The Lady Bulldogs will have had seven days between matches when they square off with the North Hardin Lady Trojans on Tuesday. John Hardin’s victory over Nelson County last Tuesday completed a stretch of 10 matches in an eight-day span.

John Hardin coach Tiffany Walker is hoping the rest will do her team well, especially considering the importance of the match in the 17th District race. With a win over the Lady Trojans (7-10, 1-4 district), the Lady Bulldogs (6-8, 2-2) would be in the driver’s seat for the third seed in the district at worst, with an opportunity to move up and catch Central Hardin and Elizabethtown.

“We really have to come out strong and be on our game because North is going to be coming at us with everything they have and they have nothing to lose,” said John Hardin coach Tiffany Walker. “They are in the same boat. If they beat us, they could very well have that seed over the top of us. It's really a make-or-break game for us.”

In the teams’ first match Aug. 29, John Hardin posted a 25-23, 19-25, 28-26, 25-21 victory.

“North has some really strong players and can hit it hard,” Walker said. “When we played that first match, the girls had to fight. It was a battle so hopefully this game, we can fight that hard from start to finish and not take a break.”

Walker said the team is excited to take the court again and has been pleased with the play of senior outside hitter Megan Parsons, senior setter Sydney Conahan, senior libero Dominique Malott and senior middle hitter Kaitlyn Priddy.

A TIMELY FILL-IN. Freshman Sarah Nichols hadn’t sat on the varsity bench all season up until a four-set win over LaRue County on Monday. About 10 minutes before that match, Central Hardin coach Bill Rineker decided to reward Nichols’ strong play on the junior varsity by letting her join the varsity.

When junior outside hitter Lauren Christman had to be taken to the hospital because of a dizzy spell and shortness of breath, Nichols was thrust into the lineup unexpectedly. She performed like she belonged, finishing with five kills.

“She went in and did a really good job, especially for someone who didn’t know they would sit bench, let alone play,” Rineker said. “She stepped up in that moment and I was really proud of her.”

Though Christman didn’t practice Tuesday and only practiced part of Wednesday, she was back to her usual self in the Thoroughbred Smash at the Kentucky Basketball Academy over the weekend. She played a full rotation, as she typically does, in every match and led the team in kills against Boone County and Christian Academy of Louisville.

MATCH TO WATCH: ELIZABETHTOWN AT CENTRAL HARDIN. Both are considered serious contenders in the 5th Region and will square off at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Cecilia. The Lady Bruins (13-2, 4-0) and Lady Panthers (16-5, 4-0) have met in the last 10 district championships and could be on a collision course once again. Central Hardin swept all three matches last season. This is the teams’ first meeting this season.

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