New Harlan County coach Stacy Noe promised teamwork and a balanced attack from his Harlan County Lady Bears after last year’s 5-24 season.
For at least one game, he was right.
Harlan County dominated from start to finish Monday in its season opener, defeating visiting Middlesboro 25-11, 25-11 and 25-11.
“It was a great way to start the season,” Noe said. “We played together, which is what we talked about. Everybody was playing for each other. We played all 12 varsity players tonight, and we were happy to get to do that. I don’t know if we’ll get to do that all the time, but I promised these girls they would play if they continued to work.”
Abby Stephens and Morgan Burke led the Lady Bears as they raced to a 10-3 lead in the opening set.
Haley Blakley and Natalie Middleton took over from there as Harlan County continued to pull away. Elyse Turner closed the set with a kill after a set from Blakley.
Valaree Day dominated around the net in the second set but Middlesboro stayed close, at least until Krista Burke reeled off five straight points to push the Lady Bears’ lead to 20-10.
Chelsey Noe had six straight service points in the third set, capped by a Blakley kill, for a 14-3 lead. Stephens had four straight service points and Day added a kill as Harlan County closed the set with an 8-2 run.
The Lady Bears won 21-11, 21-9 in junior varsity action.
Krista Burke led HCHS in the first set, scoring eight straight service points to clinch the win. Sophia Sergent added four straight points earlier in the set, including two aces.
Emily Long’s serve sent Harlan County to an 11-0 lead in the second set. Madison Blanton added an ace late in the set.
Harlan County rolled to a 21-3, 21-5 win in freshman action. Long served the first eight points of the second set as HCHS pulled away early.
Harlan County (1-0) returns to action Tuesday at home against Knott Central.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134