Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

October 17, 2012

Russell rallies on in win over Volleycats

OLIVE HILL —  Russell's volleyball team had a Squid, a Bug, a Dew Bug and a Jumping Bean for Tuesday's 16th Region first round match against Ashland.

By the end of the night, the Lady Devils had one thing more — a 3-1 win (24-26, 25-11, 25-21, 25-15) over the Volleycats.

Russell (25-12) won its third straight match over Ashland this season, and senior outside hitter Sydney Watkins — “Squid” — had a huge hand in the result; 25 kills and another nine hits — numbers about which she knew nothing at the time because “it throws me off,” she said.

“She's just a freak athletically,” Russell coach Darrell Adkins said. “She plays higher than anybody.”

About the nickname: Watkins doesn't know its origin. Last night, her mom, Tonia Buchanan, frequently waved a “Squid #20” sign.

“I honestly couldn't tell you,” she said. “I don't have a friend who calls me Sydney.”

Senior defensive specialist Kelsie Hicks answers to “Bug,” a shortened form of “Love Bug” courtesy of her mother, Belinda Hicks. Her night included nine digs and 10 points when she served.  

“My whole family calls me 'Bug',” Hicks said.

Senior middle blocker Arden Gross, “Dew Bug” started out as “Ardie Dew” courtesy of her mom Kim, who the Lady Devils dubbed “Kimba.” Her totals: 14 kills and nine more hits.

Was Gross thinking about the loss Ashland dealt Russell in last year's championship?  

“Definitely,” she said. “It was a revenge thing and a pride thing.”

Eighth-grader Sara Hieneman answers to “Jumping Bean,” and she added three blocks and four hits — and she doesn't mind that Kim Gross bestowed the nickname.

“It's all good,” she said.

Ashland coach Jeffrey Huff was  nevertheless happy with his team's showing.

“It was mostly down to executing errors, and those things happen,” Huff said. “I was pleased with the game we played; we just didn't play it really well.”

Ashland won the first set with a simple strategy: get the ball to the back corners, where Huff thought Russell would have a hard time returning the ball.

Thing was, Russell took an 18-12 lead on senior Madison Cole's serve. It wasn't enough — the Volleycats' Shannon Card had three points on her serve, as did teammate Erika Bonner, which gave Ashland a 24-23 lead.

Watkins had six kills and an ace, and Hieneman added three blocks.

Cole and Hicks served in Russell's 10-1 run midway through the second set (which gave the Lady Devils a 20-10 lead). It seemed like Watkins was everywhere: seven kills, including a two-handed dink over the Volleycat front line.

“The second set stands out to me,” Watkins said. “The setters (Cole and Cassie Fultz), their sets were on point.”

Ashland's Abbey Card’s two-fisted kill and service winner gave the Volleycats a 21-20 lead late in the third set. Then, more Watkins: block, two kills and a two-handed block — and the game.

The Lady Devils unleashed one last run, a 9-1 streak to finish the night. Seven of the points came on Fultz's serve, Gross added a block and a kill, and Emma Ison had a hit and a kill.

Adkins offered a two-word explanation for the difference between the first set and the last three.

“Unforced errors,” he said. “... We cut back on those, and when we did, we didn't give up on four- or five-point runs.”

Russell meets East Carter in tonight's semifinals at 7:30 p.m. (Greenup County and Rowan County square off at 6 p.m. tonight). Before that, however, was the matter of today's submarine sandwich lunch courtesy of Lt. Col. Terry Maggard, Russell's Reserve Officer Training Corps teacher, which he said he would buy …

“Just to motivate and reward them,” Maggard said. “They played great.”

In the first game of the night, East Carter defeated Fleming County 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-13) to advance to the region semifinals.

The Lady Raiders cruised to lengthy leads in all three sets. Coach Cathy Harris was happy just to have a completely healthy team.

“We had three or four injuries,” Harris said. “We've been working on our passing and getting the ball to the setters, so the setters can get the (sets).”

At times, it seemed like East (18-16) had an all-Gollihue attack. In the first set, senior Stephanie served  seven straight points in both the first and second sets, and sophomore Whitney's three kills keyed a 7-0 run to close out the second.

East finished the match with a 14-3 run.


Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703rfLL0204.jpg Little League State Baseball: Ready to run

    Morehead 11- and 12-year-old All-Star baseball manager Toby Gardner collectively likened his team to a racehorse.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0717prokick1.jpg Prokicker.com camp Eleven Ashland Tomcat football players were part of the Ray Guy Prokicker.com camp at Huntington High. The high-profile camps are put on all over the country. Rick Sang, an Ashland native who befriended Guy 20 years ago, is the camp's founder.

    July 16, 2014

  • 0716fbpractice0105.jpg Four-down territory: Making summer football practice pit stops

    The popular Monday night catchphrase filled my room on Tuesday morning as my new alarm sounded off at 7 a.m.

    July 16, 2014 5 Photos