PREP VOLLEYBALL NOTES: Lady Hawks riding 10-match winning streak (9/30)

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By Ryan O'Gara

After the LaRue County Lady Hawks were swept by preseason 5th Region favorite Green County (23-5) on Sept. 12, Coach Ben Schell had a long talk with his team.

The Lady Hawks were coming off a strong performance in a four-set loss to Central Hardin (19-5), and they expected to just show up and play well against their 18th District rival. When the Lady Hawks didn’t crack 20 points in any set, they were humbled.

But since, LaRue County (14-5) has rattled off 10 consecutive victories, including a championship this past weekend at the Anderson County Invitational.

“The kids were disappointed in themselves after that loss and committed to doing what it takes to win,” said LaRue County coach Ben Schell. “Ten in a row, that’s hard to do no matter who you’re playing.”

The Lady Hawks have gotten contributions across the board. It starts in the middle with seniors Ivy Brown and Alley Evans, who give LaRue County a height advantage in nearly every match. They also have athleticism on the outside with junior Alyson Yingling and sophomores Tessa Yingling and Chloe Owen. Senior setter Lorren Newby and senior libero Sadie Peters are vital pieces to the puzzle, as well.

Brown and Evans were part of the region runner-up basketball team and the Yinglings will join them on the team this season. Besides the obvious correlation with jumping, basketball has also helped their volleyball skills in that to play in the back row, players have to get low just like when guarding a ball handler in basketball.

But even more so than the talent it has on the court, Schell said the team’s recent success has a lot to do with the way it approaches matches.

“It’s just our attitude,” Schell said. “Winning breeds winning and once you start, you forget what it’s like not to win.”

KELLOGG A SEMIFINALIST. Elizabethtown native Naomi Kellogg, a senior in the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky at Western Kentucky, has been chosen as a semifinalist in the National Achievement Scholarship Program, an honor which potentially can lead to college scholarship opportunities.

Kellogg played on the John Hardin varsity squad up until her sophomore season. She was runner-up to Elizabethtown senior setter Megan Meek in 2011 for Area Sophomore of the Year.

Athletes cannot play a KHSAA sport while attending Gatton Academy.

MATCH TO WATCH: GREEN COUNTY AT LARUE COUNTY. LaRue County’s last loss was to Green County, and the Lady Hawks are anxious for another chance. They’ll get it at 8 p.m. Thursday in Hodgenville. LaRue County still has two matches earlier in the week to focus on but the Lady Hawks are excited to measure their improvement and show the rest of the region they are a team to be reckoned with in the postseason.  They could also claim the top seed in the district tournament with a win. Also this week, Central Hardin hosts John Hardin (7-10) on Monday in its final match before another showdown with Elizabethtown on Oct. 11.

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