CORBIN - Harlan County survived and advanced in the first round of the 13th Region volleyball tournament at Lynn Camp on Tuesday. The Lady Bears edged 49th District runner-up Clay County in the first two games before closing out the match with an impressive final set.
“I’m happy with how they came back. I think they just get nervous at the start of a tournament. But, they came back, and I am proud of them,” said Harlan County coach Donna Vicini.
Harlan County trailed for much of the opening set, but rallied for a 26-24 win.
The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 9-2 advantage, before Harlan County responded. After a long return from Clay, Keisha Mimes scored on a spike. Cara Middleton followed with consecutive aces that cut the deficit to three, but Clay quickly pushed the lead to 10 at 18-8.
Harlan County fought back into the game from that point. Breanna Dunson started the Lady Bears’ charge with a tip point and three straight service points to close the gap to 18-12. Harlan County reeled off 14 of the next 20 points from that point. A serve from Clay’s Rosa Smith went into the net to tie the game at 24, before Chyanna Harris scored on a spike and Mimes added a service point to close out the set.
The Lady Tigers jumped out to another lead in the second set, but Harlan County once again rallied, this time for a 25-21 victory.
Clay County (9-14) led 15-14, but a spike from Morgan Dubbles was long on the following point to tie the game. The Lady Tigers never led from that point, as Harlan County pulled away. After a Whitney Stevens’ spike gave the Lady Bears the lead, Rebecca Eldridge scored on a pair of aces to stretch the advantage to 18-15. A block by Clay’sDubbles closed the gap to one, but Harlan County closed out the match on a 7-4 run that was capped by a spike from Stevens.
“Once they get their rhythm going they do much better,” Vicini said.
While Clay hung around for much of the first two sets, Harlan County dominated from the start in the final game on the way to a 25-10 win.
After Clay point to open the match, Harlan County reeled off the next nine points to take control. The Lady Bears never led by less than six points from that point and continued to pull away.
Harlan County was more patient in the final set, resulting in 13 spikes for points.
“That is how they are going to win games is with the spikes. We tell them that every day. We are just going to keep fighting and going,” Vicini said.
Harlan County (17-9) returns to action in the tournament semifinals today against South Laurel.
“They just have to stay focused, talk to each other and play their game,” Vicini said. “Everybody has a chance in this tournament.”