For The Independent
Fairview volleyball coach Lauren Ellis knows first-hand how good Raceland is. After her team’s third match against the Lady Rams, she had just two words for the rest of the 16th region.
“They are just such a high-caliber team. They are the perfect volleyball team for this area,” she said. “Good luck to whoever has to play them next is all I can say. I’m not sure how you match them, but I wish (Raceland) all the best moving forward.”
Raceland advanced past the Lady Eagles 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-21) on Monday night in the opening round of the 16th Region Tournament at Russell High School.
The Lady Rams (33-4) will play Rowan County on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals.
The Valkyries made their way to the semifinals with a 3-0 (25-4, 25-10, 25-12) win over 62nd District runner-up West Carter.
Kymbria Williams and the rest of the Lady Rams asserted their dominance early, attacking the net at any and every opportunity.
Williams tallied a whopping 17 kills, but she had plenty of help at the net from Abby Brogan and MaKenzi Speaks. Brogan added four kills, while Speaks chipped in with four kills and a block.
“That is the name of the game, you have to go up and get swings,” Raceland coach Jason Clark said. “I feel like we passed well and served well, especially in the first two games, and Abby, MaKenzi and Kymbria dominated the net. When those three do that, we are going to be pretty good.”
“I just hope she didn’t use up all of her good swings tonight,” Clark jokingly said in regards to Williams’ brilliant performance.
While Raceland’s hitters were on the offensive most of the night, Fairview (13-13) never could find its offensive rhythm.
“We got rushed and ran out of hits. We knew how good they are and I think we panicked a little bit,” Ellis said. “We just could never get it going. We just made too many mistakes on our part.”
One particular area that haunted the Lady Eagles was service errors, something Ellis stressed couldn’t happen if her team wanted to win.
“Too many service mistakes,” she said. “You cannot do that against them, because they will take advantage of it every time.”
In the first match of the night, Rowan County (22-15) had absolutely no problems with service errors as the Valkyries racked up an astounding 23 aces in their victory over the Lady Comets.
“Our serves were really working,” Rowan County coach Steve Walters said. “I have to give my servers credit. They were hitting almost every spot that I was giving them.”
Walters uses signals to designate which part of the floor he wants targeted before every serve.
“They are just suggestions from me,” he said of the signs. “As long as it is over and in, I am happy.”
McKayla Ledford did an outstanding job of finding her coach’s suggested service areas, as she registered 10 aces on the night.
Michaela McClain and Faith Conn both led Rowan County with six kills apiece.
West Carter finished its season 10-23.