Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

August 26, 2011

‘Too much Rice’ for Raceland

Senior hitter leads Russell past Lady Rams

RACELAND — Kylie Rice crept toward the net, eyes widening and right arm winding, as she prepared to nail another perfect set by Russell teammate Tessa Peterman.

Rice deftly slammed the ball in between Raceland defenders for yet another kill, albeit a rare clean one.

The drill became routine for Peterman and Rice in the first game as Russell beat Raceland, 2-0 (25-21, 25-17), on Thursday night at Raceland.

Rice’s firm hits were partly fueled by the Lady Devils’ opponent.

“It was a very emotional game,” said Rice, a senior. “It just feels really good to beat (Raceland) because they’re a longtime rival.”

Raceland has knocked Russell out of the 63rd District Tournament the last two seasons. The Lady Rams won the district both years.

Rice tallied seven kills in the first game alone, most of them coming off passes by Peterman.

“Tessa was putting it right where she needed to and they got in a rhythm,” said Russell coach Darrell Adkins. “Raceland played four or five of her hits, but we just kept hitting. If you give her four or five swings that’s what’s going to happen.”

Raceland (9-2) has dropped two of its last three matches. Brooke Gee, a top hitter, has been out for a week with a bacterial infection.

“That’s hurt us twice this week,” said Raceland coach Jason Clark, whose team lost to East Carter on Monday.

The Lady Rams got on a roll in Friday’s second game, jumping out 5-1 and then leading 15-12 behind the play of Bre Grubb and Abby Brogan.

According to Clark, his team’s mishaps led to the loss.

“It was our inability to receive a serve. It was nothing Russell did,” Clark said. “They didn’t beat us. We lost.

“The first team to 25 mistakes loses,” added the sixth-year coach. “We went to 25 mistakes both times.”

Raceland saw its 15-12 advantage dwindle quickly as the Lady Devils’ Madison Cole, with her solid serving, and Arden Gross, with smart play at the net, helped Russell to a 13-2 run to close out the game, and the match.

“(Cole) is not our big-time server, but she’s a really smart server,” Adkins said. “She’ll move it around, look for holes.”

Cole had two aces down the stretch. Russell’s final serve deflected off Raceland for the match point.

Rice couldn’t park in the front row much in the second game.

“We couldn’t seem to keep her up front,” Adkins said. “I don’t care if we rotate when she’s in the back — that gets her back up front — but it was the other way around a lot.”

Sydney Watkins helped alleviate the problem, providing solid play to keep Rice positive.

“It’s frustrating when stuff like that happens but you’ve got to be able to keep your head up,” Rice said.

Clark was displeased with Raceland’s inability to take advantage of Rice’s position.

“We knew we had to keep her on the back row, but we couldn’t make a pass,” Clark said. “That’s our fault.”

Adkins was still impressed with Rice, leaving him to sum up the match in four words.

“Too much Kylie Rice,” he said simply.

Russell (9-2) and Raceland meet again on Sept. 12 at Russell.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

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