Boyle beats Casey for first district volleyball title

October 13, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

The Boyle County volleyball team only had to show up to reach the regional tournament, but merely showing up wasn't what the Lady Rebels had in mind.

They could see the district championship and runner-up trophies displayed on a table just a few feet from the court, and they knew what their purpose was Tuesday night.

"We said, 'That silver trophy looks nice, but we really want the gold one," Boyle junior Bruna Lozano said.

The Lady Rebels got the gold, beating Casey County 19-25, 25-16, 25-17 to win the 42nd District Tournament on their home court and raise their first district champion's trophy over their heads.

"This is a huge feat for us," junior Rachel Staub said. "It was our goal from day one. Last year we wanted it really bad and didn't get it, so this year we decided we wanted it and we were going to take it."


As the top seed in a three-team tournament, Boyle (23-11) was assured a spot in the district final and in next week's 12th Region Tournament before this tourney began.

But Boyle got its championship and a measure of revenge for being beaten twice by Casey in last year's double-elimination district tourney.

"It was tough last year to lose like that," Stigall said. "This was something they definitely wanted. It was a goal we set as a team."

That goal became a little harder to reach after Casey (18-9) won the first game, but Boyle seized the momentum in game two and never let it get away again.

"We just never got it back," Casey coach Allen Patterson said. "I think when we lost a couple of calls in the second game it flustered us, and we couldn't get our focus back."

Boyle jumped out to an 11-3 lead in that second game and was never threatened by Casey, which was unable to score more than two consecutive points in the game. In contrast, Boyle's Melissa Shannon and Meagan Lankford were each on serve for runs of four consecutive points.

Boyle picked up in the third game where it left off in the second, building an 11-4 lead with a strong start that included two service aces by Shannon and one by Staub.

Casey's Patterson said he was surprised that his team didn't answer the bell after losing the second game.

"To be honest, I almost expected a little letdown in the second game because we'd played so well in the first game. But the third game I was a little disappointed with our execution. I thought we'd come back a little more fired up than we were," he said.

Casey had one comeback in it, however, as it rallied, to pull within 12-11, then answered five straight Boyle points with five of its own to make it 17-16.

But Boyle scored the last seven points of the match, closing out Casey with a surge that included two points off serves by Lozano and three kills by Staub, including an exclamation-point spike on match point.

"Rachel had a good stretch, and Bruna had some good points near the end," Stigall said.

But Boyle's coach and her players were quick to say their victory was a collective effort.

"They played as a team," Stigall said. "It took not just the six players on the court, but the six on the bench and the coaches as well. Everybody trusted each other."

Boyle has won 15 of its last 18 matches, and one of the wins was a three-game victory at Casey Sept. 28 in which the first two games were decided by just two points each and Boyle won the deciding game by four.

That match carried its own postseason pressure, because the top district seed and an automatic regional berth were on the line. And both coaches said the teams played at a more feverish pace because of that.

"I think those games were more intense," Patterson said.

But a determined Boyle team had its eye on the prize, and the team's captain and only senior, Meagan Lankford led the players on the floor to claim their trophy after their win.

A few minutes later, Lankford asked her coach if she could take the trophy home for just one night, and Stigall granted her request.

"She'll probably sleep with it tonight," Staub said.

Lankford and Lozano had eight assists each for Boyle, and Lozano and Shannon had three aces each. Staub had a team-high eight kills, and Stephanie Slone had five.

Kelli Patten had eight kills and eight blocks for Casey, Bethany Snow had 10 kills, Ellen Hogue had six and Meredith Coffey had three.

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