|Girls fall to Bruins, but what a year it was!
By Dan Manley
Advocate Sports Editor
The volleyball season came to an end for the Montgomery County High School squad Friday evening at the Letcher Norton Gym in Winchester with the Central Hardin Bruins posting a 3-0 win over the Tribe in the quarterfinal round of the KHSAA State Volleyball Tournament.
There were no real surprises in the Elite Eight as private schools Sacred Heart, Erlanger St. Henry and Mercy Academy out of Louisville posted wins over West Jessamine, Bowling Green and Boyd County, respectively.
All of the quarterfinal final scores were 3-0.
Montgomery County was matched up against another public school but one that came in with a 40-1 record and is located not far from the Louisville metro area where most of the players compete in club volleyball and play year around.
Coach Bradley Craycraft’s squad finished with a 28-12 record and gave a respectable account of themselves before a partisan Montgomery County crowd.
The Indian faithful appeared to outnumber the crowd from Central Hardin by about 5-1 and when the match was over it would have appeared from the crowd reaction that Montgomery County had won.
The MCHS fans gave their squad quite a send-off with a loud, standing ovation in appreciation of winning the school’s first-ever regional crown and advancing to the Elite Eight.
Montgomery County played well in the opening set.
The Lady Indians had only one lead in that opening set and it came when senior outside hitter Ansley Shields delivered a kill to start the set.
The score was tied at 5-5 and back-to-back kills by Annie Ledford and Ansley Shields brought the Lady Indians to within one point at 8-7.
With Central Hardin leading 14-8 the Indians got a point on a Bruin error and then Lily Conn served an ace and Ledford blocked a shot by Central Hardin’s Brooke McElfresh to bring Montgomery County to within 14-11.
Shields would get another kill on an assist from Presley Cord to close the gap a few plays later to 17-12 but the Lady Indians could get no closer as Central Hardin won 25-17.
The Lady Indians held Hardin’s leading server, Lauren Thompson, to just four service points but senior all-stater outside hitter Addie Atcher was a dominant force as she had seven kills in that opening set while Brooke McElfresh and Alex Mackey each scored a trio of points off a pair of kills and a block, each.
The Lady Indians were limited to just six kills, two each by Shields and Hadley Beckham and one each by Ledford and Gracen Cord.
Presley Cord assisted on al of the kills.
Montgomery County was never in contention in the second set as senior Lindsey Vest aced her first serve and went on to serve 13 winners in a row before the Lady Indians got on the board.
Vest herself had a pair of kills during that run while Atcher had two, Lilly Padgett two and Alex Mackey one.
Ledford finally broke the ice for the Lady Indians with a kill off an assist by Presley Cord but then another run by Central Hardin with Lindsey Vest’s twin, Lauren Vest serving, pushed the Bruins’ lead to 20-1.
The Lady Indians showed a lot of grit after that, out-scoring Central Hardin 9-5 the remainder of the quarter before the Bruins closed out the set at 25-10.
Shields had two aces and a kill during that final run.
Central Hardin took control of the third set with success from their first three servers that led to a 10-2 lead, as they marched to a 25-11 win that closed out the Tribe.
The Lady Indians were victimized throughout the match by the serving game.
Although the Bruins had just nine aces to seven for the Lady Indians they were able to put together long runs from the service line with deep drives that led to Central Hardin getting great scoring chances on the Lady Indians’ returns.
The taller Bruins, led by Atcher, who finished with 17 kills, simply dominated action at the net with their superior size and experience.
They finished with 41 total kills to Montgomery County’s 17 and they had four blocks to Montgomery County’s one.
The Lady Indians did force the Bruins to win a number of long volleys as they totaled 43 digs in the match, 17 of those by senior Libero Brianna Terpening who was named to the All-State Tournament Team.
Terpening helped keep the crowd engaged with her diving saves. She also got a lot of help in that category from Hadley Beckham (7), Lily Conn (6) and Ansley Shields (5).
Erlanger St. Henry and Mercy advanced to the championship match Saturday night with St. Henry winning its second straight title and keeping the 43-year streak of private schools winning the state volleyball title in place.