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VOLLEYBALL: Lady Knights face solid competition in Bethlehem, Washington County 

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By Gerard Flanagan

When Marion County takes the court for its first volleyball games, a win is not a given. In fact, the first three games Marion County has on the schedule could go either way, according to Head Coach David Hibbard.
“It just depends on how well we show up and play,” he said. 
The first matchup of the 2017 season Lady Knights, against Woodford County Yellowjackets, was last night in Versailles. Hibbard expected it to be an evenly contested matchup. 
“We have been pretty evenly matched over the last two years,” Hibbard said of the Yellowjackets, who finished a respectable 19-17 last season en route to a regional tournament appearance. Woodford County advanced as runners-up of the 41st District. 
The Lady Knights get back on their home court against the Bethlehem Banshees at 7:30 p.m., tomorrow in Marion County’s first home match of the season. 
“Bethlehem is not their usual powerhouse but they are still pretty solid so that should be an even match as well,” Hibbard said. 
Bethlehem comes off a solid 24-7 season that included the team’s sixth straight district title. The Banshees will be bringing a wide supply of experience into the matchup, with Bethlehem fielding eight seniors this season, according to the KHSAA website. 
Marion County is back on the road on Aug. 22 for a 7:30 p.m. matchup against cross-county rival Washington County. Last season, the two teams met once in late August, with the Commanderettes prevailing in five sets. 
Like Bethlehem, Hibbard expects Washing-ton County to give Marion County a tough matchup. 
“Washington County is playing some pretty good volleyball right now and their offense gave us some fits at camp this summer. This matchup should also be pretty even,” he said.
Washington County finished 19-13 last season, falling in three sets to Bardstown in the 19th District Tournament semifinals. 
Marion County traveled to Greensburg Aug. 8 to take on the Green County Lady Dragons as well as the Metcalfe County Lady Hornets in scrimmage action. 
Marion County fell in a close competition to the Lady Dragons, 22-25, 24-26. 
“We had every opportunity to win,” Hibbard said. “Our offense didn’t flow well because our passing was just a little off. Our serving was probably the strongest part of our game.”
The Lady Knights were without their starting libero Jenny Mattingly, who was sidelined with a minor injury. Hibbard said she will battle with freshman Maggie Overstreet to start this season. 
In total, Marion County got eight aces and 12 kills against the Lady Dragons. 
The Lady Knights, however, scored a convincing win against the Lady Hornets, 25-14, 25-9, recording 17 aces in the match. 
“They just weren’t at our level and our serve led us to an easy win,” Hibbard said.   
The Lady Knights played at the Roby Dome in their final scrimmage Aug. 10 against Bardstown, losing in three sets, 17-25, 22-25, 17-25. 
“Our scrimmage against Bardstown wasn’t bad,” Hibbard said. “We didn’t play with as much energy as I want but our second set was as solid as we have played all summer. Bardstown is a really good team that plays fast. We couldn’t pass well enough to match their pace.”
Hibbard said his team’s offense was unable to score consistently enough. 
“When we got some offense going, we were able to score. We just didn’t do it consistently enough,” he said, adding, “our emphasis in practice this week will be on passing and serve-receive.”

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