Oct. 19, 2012 —
The dream stayed alive for the Rowan County Volleyball Vikings after defeating Greenup County 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-22) in the 16th Region semifinal round at West Carter High School on Wednesday night.
With the victory, the Lady Vikings (32-5) advanced to its first Regional Championship game since 2008.
Rowan County volleyball coach Steve Walters said the atmosphere in the Harold Holbrook Gymnasium was like nothing he had experienced before.
“That was hands down, that was the most awesome volleyball game I’ve been involved with,” Walter said. “Take the score out of the game, the fans, student bodies, pep buses, that’s the most excitement I’ve ever seen, period, in this region for a volleyball game.”
Greenup County (24-11) came out firing against the Lady Vikings, racing out against what Walter’s called “passive” playing in the first set to put Rowan County on the ropes.
“I called one timeout just because we were being passive,” Walter said. “I told them these little tips, these little pushes they changed their defense up. They’re a smart team, they have played us twice, knew our tendencies, they gave us a different look and it took a while for us to figure it out.”
But at the first serve of the second set, Mean Green became a lot more aggressive, racing out to an 11-2 lead before taking the second set 25-22.
The third set was much of the same, back and forth between Greenup and Rowan gaining more momentum, winning the third set 25-20.
The fourth set, Rowan raced out 13-8 lead and never looked back to clinch a spot in the title game with a 25-22 victory.
Senior middle hitter Jessica Mullins led the charge with 15 points, 10 kills and six blocks. Junior outside hitter Faith Conn chipped in with 12 kills, three blocks and one ace.
The Vikings squared off with Russell Thursday night in the Region Championship to represent the 16th at the state tournament next week in Louisville.
History is not in the favor of the Lady Vikings. The Lady Red Devils have ended Rowan’s season from 2004-08 in the Regional Tournament, including the ’07 and ’08 championships.
The Lady Vikings have never been to the state tournament in the new format, Walters calling his team “The bridesmaid but never the bride.” But he and his squad knows anything can happen in a championship game.
“It’s very exciting,” Walters said. “ Russell is a perennial power, and our biggest rival. I told the girls, enjoy this.”
We will have comprehensive coverage of Rowan County’s match with Russell in Tuesday’s edition of The Morehead News.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.