Casey beats Pioneers

August 20, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

LIBERTY - With a big smile on her face and an even bigger ice pack on her thumb, Kelli Patten was feeling fine.

Patten and her Casey County volleyball teammates had just scored an important early-season victory, and the pain of a dislocated thumb was negated by the satisfaction of a job well done.

Casey prevailed in a showdown between two of the area's best teams Thursday night, defeating Harrodsburg 25-17, 25-20. It was only the second match of the season for both teams, but it was the kind of victory the Rebels hope to hang their hats on.

"It boosts our spirits a lot," Patten said.

Casey and Harrodsburg had the best records last season among the six area teams. Harrodsburg reached the 12th Region Tournament semifinals, while Casey was bounced out of the regional in the first round.


Now the Rebels have high hopes for their first season under new coach Alan Patterson.

"I want to go farther in the region, and I'd like to win the region and go on to state my senior year," Patten said. "I want us to improve every day. I think this team can go anywhere we want to go."

Patterson, a longtime player who is coaching for the first time, said his team has already covered quite a bit of ground since preseason practice started.

"We're blocking much better, and I think we're passing a little better than we did last year," Patterson said. "I'm loving it. These kids are working tremendously hard for me in practice."

Casey (2-0) gained the upper hand early in each of the match's two games, then turned back Harrodsburg's every attempt to take the lead.

Patten was one of Casey's most valuable players

Patten was one of Casey's most valuable players, serving seven aces and scoring 13 of her team's 50 points. Her right thumb popped out of place before the match, but she said she was determined to play through the pain.

"I have to," she said. "You have to be there for your team 100 percent. I want to be there for my team because I know they'll be there for me when I'm down."

The Rebels led 7-1 in the first game and never allowed Harrodsburg (1-1) to get closer than three points. Harrodsburg overcame a 6-1 deficit in the second game to tie the score at 8-all, then came back to within one point after Casey took a 14-9 lead. But when Casey scored five straight points to go up 19-13, the Pioneers had no rallies left.

"I think one thing that gave them an advantage is they don't really have a short girl on the team," Harrodsburg assistant coach Adrienne Smither said. "And they really know how to play."

Patterson said he was pleased with Casey's execution.

"They looked good, I thought," he said. "We had good serving and when we're serving well we're tough. And this is the best we've passed the ball this year. Because we passed the ball better, we had better sets."

Junior Ellen Hogue helped Casey's cause with three service aces and five total points.

The loss was a bit of a setback for Harrodsburg, which had the area's best record last year at 14-8 and lost only one player to graduation.Smither said the Pioneers did a number of things well, and she was pleased with the way they fought back when Casey tried to pull away.

"I think they definitely stuck together well as a team," she said.

And like their counterparts at Casey, the Harrodsburg girls have reason to aim high this season.

"We have high expectations," Smither said. "We always do."

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