KHSAA requiring replay of volleyball tournament

October 15, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

It's hard to recapture the emotion and intensity of a district tournament, but that's exactly what three local volleyball teams have to do this weekend.

Teams from Boyle County, Casey County and Lincoln County will have to replay the 42nd District Tournament Saturday after the Kentucky High School Athletic Association ruled that the tournament they played earlier this week was in violation of its rules.

At issue is the KHSAA's conclusion that the teams did not follow the unique procedure the association mandates for three-team tournaments to eliminate a scenario like the one that played out this week, when Boyle was assured of being one of the two teams to advance to the regional tournament before it ever played in the district.

Boyle athletics director Jim Spears, the tournament manager, said he and the coaches from the three participating teams believed they were following the rules when they set the schedule.


"We felt like, everybody, we were well in compliance for a four-team district," Spears said.

And there's where the difference of opinion arose. The district contains four teams, so it was seeded in accordance with KHSAA rules. Kentucky School for the Deaf chose to withdraw before the pre-tournament meeting, leaving three teams that had been seeded based on their regular-season matches against each other.

"What the KHSAA is saying is when they (withdrew) prior to the district tournament meeting, then we changed from a four-team district to a three-team district, and in a three-team district you cannot seed," Spears said.

Spears had submitted the seeded tournament bracket to the KHSAA well in advance of the tournament, but no one from the association contacted him to tell him there was a problem.

"The thing that upset me was the timing of it," Boyle coach Dana Stigall said.

The winner and runner-up, Boyle and Casey, respectively, were already preparing for next week's regional. Lincoln, the lone team whose season ended in the three-team tournament, had packed it in for the year, and some of its players had left town for the rest of their fall break.

Play begins at 10 a.m. Saturday

But they'll all be back at Boyle Saturday, when up to three matches will be played in succession beginning at 10 a.m.

"We want to make sure there is no perception that a competitive advantage was gained by a misinterpretation of the rules," Spears said.

Either Boyle or Casey could lose the regional berth each team seemed to have in hand two days ago.

"It's a risk, but it's also an opportunity," Casey coach Allen Patterson said. "Our girls are excited about getting a chance to be district champions, but we know there's also a chance we could stay home from the region."

Boyle has the most to lose after carrying off its first district championship trophy Tuesday.

"I think it's unfortunate for the girls; that's my No. 1 priority," Stigall said. "But the way I explained it to the girls is that we don't have a choice in this and we have an opportunity to be the only team in the state to win district twice in one year."

Lincoln has the most to gain in the second tournament.

"They're all excited to have a second chance, but I do feel for the two teams that had already qualified (for the regional)," Lincoln coach Kelly Horseman said.

But Lincoln has its own problems. Some of the players had left town, and Horseman was trying to round everyone up again for one pre-tournament practice today. As of Thursday, eight of 10 players were expected to play Saturday.

Boyle is assuming the expenses for payment of the officials and a second all-tournament team. Players who made the all-tourney team Tuesday will be allowed to keep their awards, but their matches will not count toward their teams' records.

No admission will be charged for Saturday's matches.

"We charged (fans) to come a tournament that didn't count, and we're not going to charge them again," Spears said.

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