With a four-set win Monday over visiting Harlan County, the Harlan Lady Dragons completed a district sweep and all but locked up the best season in school history.
Harlan improved to 13-5 overall with the win, tying a school record for wins that goes back to 2002 when the Lady Dragons finished 13-8 in only the second season of the sport in the county.
“They are all juniors and seniors now, so I expected them to be able to play at a higher level,” Harlan coach Tara Posey said. “I’m real proud of how they are playing. I just hope they can continue it into the postseason.”
The Lady Dragons had one of their toughest matches earlier this season with a down-to-the-wire five-set win at Harlan County. The rematch was not quite as thrilling.
Harlan County made a late run behind senior Katelyn Reynolds in the first set to pull even at 23 before Harlan scored the final two points.
The second set was tied 12-12 when Emma Bianchi and Jesse Cochran, both juniors, took over. Bianchi had a couple of kills for a 20-15 lead, then Cochran scored four of the Lady Dragons’ last five points in a 25-20 win.
Reynolds dominated in the third set as the Lady Bears built a big lead and then held off a late rally to win 25-20.
Cochran, Shanae Thomas and Bianchi each had points as Harlan raced to a 10-4 lead in the fourth set on the way to a 25-17 victory.
“They get comfortable,” said Posey of her team’s inconsistency during some matches. “That’s one thing we talked about just now, about how they need to be more consistent with everything we need to do, and we need to see the court better.”
Harlan County, the three-time defending district champion, fell to 3-18. The Lady Bears return to action Tuesday at Middlesboro.
Harlan returns to acton Oct. 5 at Thomas Walker, Va.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134