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Lady Knights reach regional semifinals

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Marion County defeats LaRue County, falls to Central Hardin

By Jessica Veatch and Josh Veatch

Last week, the Marion County Lady Knights hosted and competed in the 5th Region Volleyball Tournament at Marion County High School.
The Lady Knights defeated their first round opponent, Larue County on Oct. 15. However, in the semifinal round Oct. 17, Marion County fell to Central Hardin, who went on to defeat Green County and win the 5th Region Tournament.  The Lady Knights finished the season 31-7 and 8-0 in the district. Kyvin Goodin-Rogers and Valerie Mattingly were selected to the 5th Region All-Tournament team.
“I am so proud of this season for us. This was by far the best record one of our teams has ever had. Put that with the great attitude and chemistry this team had and that makes it one of the most fun seasons I have ever coached,” Marion County Coach David Hibbard said.  “We set numerous school records, made it to three tournament finals (winning one), and just made volleyball fun to watch. I’ll really miss this team and hope future teams will use this as a model for success.”
Marion County vs. Central Hardin
Oct. 17 at the Roby Dome, the Lady Knights lost to Central Hardin, in the 5th Region semifinals.  The Lady Knights lost in three straight sets, 25-10, 25-12, 25-14.
In the first set of the match, Marion County managed five kills while Central Hardin ran its offense to perfection, with an overwhelming offensive attack. The second set was more competitive, and Logan Powell led the Lady Knights with three kills. But the Lady Bruins had a powerful offensive attack once again.  
The Lady Knights made a mini-run in the third set after falling behind 7-0, but it wouldn’t be enough to gain the momentum to win the set.  Marion County lost the third set despite Kyvin Goodin-Rogers’ five kills and a block.
According to Hibbard, he was expecting the Lady Knights to be much more competitive based on their approach to the match and the way they had been playing lately.  
“Central played at a whole new level tonight; this was the best I had seen them play all season. Central was almost mistake free and we were about half a step slow all night,” he said.
He added that the Lady Knights struggled with their passing in the match and could not get their blocks set.
“It just seemed like we were playing catch-up the entire match and could not make any changes to the momentum of the match no matter what we did,” Hibbard said.
Marion County vs. Larue County
The Marion County Lady Knights overcame a slow start to defeat Larue County in the first round of the 5th Region Tournament at the Roby Dome, 25-17, 25-7, 25-22.
The Lady Knights started off a bit shaky, falling behind 7-3 in the first set. However, Marion County made a run behind strong serving. Jeni Hall notched three aces in the run, and the Lady Knights’ offense built on the strong serving to win the set. Three Marion County hitters recorded two kills each in the first set, while Sammi Jo Orberson and Katie McKinney each added two aces.
The Lady Knights dominated the second set.  Nicole Mattingly led the way with three kills, while Kyvin Goodin-Rogers and Valerie Mattingly each had two blocks.  Orberson and McKinney each had two more aces.  
The third set was much closer, going back and forth between Marion County and Larue County, but the Lady Knights held on to win the match.  
Hibbard said that he was expecting the entire match to be like the third set and was surprised at how easily the Lady Knights handled Larue County.  
“I almost got the feeling they did not want to be there to compete. We showed a few nerves early on but when we needed to pick it up, the girls really came through to play tough,” Hibbard said.  “Our offense looked good, our defense was solid, and our serving was what carried us through the first two sets. Overall, a very solid start to regional play for us.”