Lady Colonels will face defending champion George Rogers Clark tonight for the 40th District Volleyball Title
JARRETT VAN METER I For The Citizen
WINCHESTER – When Bourbon County and Montgomery County volleyball take the floor, you better settle in. For the third time this season, the two teams played five sets. After splitting two regular season matches, Bourbon battled back from a 2-1 set deficit on Monday night to win 3-2, claim the season series, and advance to the district championship.
“We are very even and competitive,” coach Lauren Eads said of the matchups with Montgomery. “They have good outsides, we have good outsides. They have strong middles, we have strong middles. All the way around from setters, it’s pretty balanced.”
Sophomore Marleigh Estes set the defensive tone in the first set with several huge blocks, and neither team was able to separate by more than two points until Montgomery took a 17-14 lead on its way to winning the opening set, 25-19. The teams see-sawed from there, Bourbon taking the second set, and Montgomery the third for a 2-1 lead. Facing elimination, Eads challenged her team.
“I told them to do it for themselves, do it for their team, do it for their parents, and do it for every single person who shows up here every single time to watch us play,” she said of her message to her team after dropping the third set. “Because we are sick of losing, and we are sick of being looked at as a bad team. We had to prove ourselves tonight, and we did.”
The speech worked. The upperclassmen stepped up. With senior captain Bethany Simpson leading the charge, Bourbon battled to a 25-22 victory in the fourth set.
“Bethany is just an all-around athlete,” said Eads of her star senior. “She fights until she doesn’t have any fight left in her, which doesn’t happen. She’s consistent, she’s aggressive, she’s a leader, she brings her team up, there are just so many things you could say about her. She is an incredible athlete.”
Riding the momentum of the fourth set win, Bourbon (10-18) sealed the win with a 15-10 victory in the decisive fifth set. The victory guarantees the team at least two more games: a date with top seed and defending champion George Rogers Clark (24-5) in the district championship (tonight) and a berth in the regional tournament, which will start next Monday at Harrison Country High School.
GRC swept the regular season series against the Lady Colonels, winning the first match 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-22) in Paris and then won the second match 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-14) in Winchester.
“This is an incredible win,” said Eads. “Our record doesn’t show how good of a team that we are, and I feel like tonight showed that just because our record isn’t as good as some of these other teams, it doesn’t mean we aren’t as good.”
Bourbon County will be seeking their first district title since 2019.
Simpson led the Lady Colonels stat line with 29 digs, 5 service aces, 13 kills, 19 assists, and 3 blocks. Junior Rylee Barnes totaled 21 digs, 2 services aces, 8 kills and a block. Junior Jenna Fallis added 10 kills, 2 blocks and 5 digs. Junior Maci Brown recorded 24 assists and 14 digs. Juniors Tiffany Jones and Taylor Bentley had 13 and 12 digs respectively. Jones also had 2 service aces and Bentley had one. Meadow Holt, a senior, finished with 15 digs and 6 kills. Estes’ stat line had her with 7 kills, team-high 6 blocks, and 5 digs. Junior Sarah Wells totaled 6 kills, 2 blocks and 2 digs, while senior Kimberly Salas rounded out the stat leaders with 6 digs.
Over the five games, Bourbon as a team, totaled 51 kills, 15 blocks, 49 assists, 122 digs, and 11 service aces.
Reaching milestones last night saw Rylee Barnes recording her 1,000th career dig, while Bethany Simpson collected her 1,000th career assist. Earlier this season, junior Maci Brown picked up her 1,000th career assist.
ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY KRISTA BARNETT … you can see more game photos on her Facebook Page.