Before Thursday night’s game at Greenup County, Raceland volleyball coach Jason Clark wanted his team to understand one thing, playing with emotion and being emotional are not the same.
A distinction Clark knew he had to make based on the circumstances surrounding the early season matchup between the two district rivals.
Kymbria Williams, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year, decided to transfer to Raceland from Greenup County after last year creating even more tension than normal between the two sides.
Clark did not have to worry long about how his team would respond. It was evident early on the only emotion they were going to show was when celebrating a point, and the Lady Rams had plenty of opportunities to do just that as they came away with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-19) victory.
“I preached to them all day about not being emotional,” Clark said. “I wanted them to play with emotion, but not become emotional and get carried away with what is happening in the stands and with the other team.”
Returning to her old stomping grounds didn’t seem to bother Williams one bit as she gave her new teammates plenty of opportunities to celebrate with her spectacular hitting.
“We had some really good passing tonight and that helped her a lot,” Clark said. “That was the best we have received serve and passed thus far, and that is big for us. If we can receive those serves and get passes up it gives her more swings.
Williams finished with 13 kills on the night.
She was not the only beneficiary of the Lady Rams’ improved passing. Senior Abby Brogan also took advantage of the well-placed passes to record four kills, including three in the final game.
Greenup County (0-2) led much of the first game until Raceland rattled off 13 of the next 15 points to take control of the game.
It was much of the same in the second game, only this time the Lady Rams made their run earlier. After being tied at five, Raceland scored 10 of the next 11 points to open a comfortable margin.
Greenup County coach Lyndsey Thacker said long runs are just part of the game, especially early in the season.
“That is just volleyball,” she said. “That is just the way that it is early in the season. Early in the year, a team will usually have long runs and as the season goes on the runs become shorter and shorter.”
The Lady Musketeers started the final game on a streak of their own, scoring the first six points. But it was shortlived as Raceland again got rolling to win 13 of the next 16 points.
“We needed to be reminded to focus a little bit,” Clark said. “A lot of those were our mistakes. We let a ball drop on the opening serve with two girls looking at each other. That can’t happen. It created a run for them.”
The Lady Musketeers had two other impressive streaks, thanks to the serve of Jena McKenzie.
“She is our senior and she has an awesome serve,” Thacker said of McKenzie. “She is the heart of the team. She will never give up trying.”
Kaitlin Moore led Greenup County with five kills.