MOREHEAD The only things missing from West Carter’s latest volleyball revival were the tent, choir robes and hymnals.
The Lady Comets needed a plethora of passion Thursday at Rowan County’s Warren H. Cooper Gymnasium, and they produced – a 3-2 (17-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 15-4) win over the three-time defending 16th Region champion Valkyries.
“This five-set stuff, I’m too old for that, West Carter coach Christie Tackett said. “I’ve had two heart surgeries, and then I can’t be mad at ‘em cause they pull ‘em out.”
When you list the contenders for the 16th Region tournament – Boyd County, Russell and Rowan County are the reflexive choices. West Carter (17-3) is frequently left out, despite its 69-27 record since Tackett took over the program in 2018.
Senior Peyton Steagall thinks enrollment numbers is a reason.
“The reason I think we’re overlooked is that we’re such a small school,” Steagall said. “We lost a lot of seniors last year, so I just think they didn’t think we could pick it up.”
To Tackett, familiarity is a factor in her team’s success.
“Just a group of girls that flow really well, play really well together,” Tackett said. “They know each other, they’ve been together so long.”
“I have a very young and inexperienced team,” Rowan County coach Dusty Coyle said.
Rowan County junior Bailey Brashear bedeviled West Carter most of the night.
Starting with the first point on Brashear’s and senior Madison Roar’s double-team block. Two Brashear kills left tied the set at 3-all.
Rowan County (5-6) took a 13-9 lead on, yes, Brashear’s block and a kill through Madi Adkins’ attempted block. The Valkyries finished the set with 7-1 run.
The Lady Comets took a 10-6 lead in the second set when senior Kenzie Hay’s shot hit the net, deflected left and fell. By the end of the set, however, a kill from Brashear and Brooklyn Adams tied the score at 22, which the Valkyries clinched with kills by Roar and Maggie Moore.
West Carter won the third set largely because of because of junior Rebecca Stevens. When her kill put the Lady Comets ahead, 24-23, she kicked out her right leg in celebration, and she closed the game with another kill two points later.
“I’m proud of them,” Tackett said. “We wanted this win.”