MOREHEAD Steve Walters spent a mostly sleepless night Wednesday.
So did Bailey Brashear, Heather Fannin and Riley Hall.
You hope Walters, Brashear, Fannin, Hall and the rest of the Rowan County volleyball team slept better Thursday. The Valkyries hopefully had pleasant dreams after they won their third straight 16th Region title over Boyd County, 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-23, 25-15) at Warren H. Cooper Gymnasium.
The Valkyries meet either South Laurel or Corbin in the opening round of the state tournament at 8 p.m. Nov. 8 at Valley High School in Louisville.
Walters, affectionately known as “Uncle Steve” to Rowan County students, said he got just two hours’ sleep and couldn’t eat or concentrate well in class Thursday. As for the Valkyries …
“If they were as nervous as I was, they handled it much better than I did,” Walters said.
Brashear was anxious.
“I always have trouble sleeping in pressure sitations,” Brashear said. “This is Walters’ baby; he kinda birthed this; he brought this program into existence, basically. These wins are really a big deal for him.”
What was more, Thursday was Rowan County’s first win over Boyd County in three meetings this season.
Boyd County (29-8) started the opening set with a 3-0 lead, but after a mishit ended the run, the Valkyries gave the Lady Lions more torment than a “Nightmare on Elm Street” movie marathon: a 15-4 streak.
Boyd County eventually tied the game at 22-all thanks in part to Lewis’ three kills and a Terry-Emma Sparks block. Rowan County scored the final three points on Kylie Breeze’s serve.
The Lady Lions completed their second set win on a 7-3 tear. It included Sparks’ kill, Terry’s shot that hit the net and dribbled over, and Baker’s two aces.
Rowan County clinched the third set on Fannin’s ace, after which she jumped higher than most of the fans.
Boyd County opened the fourth set with its last lead, a 5-1 string Audrey Biggs punctuated with two blocks and a kill. After Hall’s kill put Rowan County ahead to stay at 7-6, her teammates uncorked a 19-9 run the rest of the way.
“I don’t think we reacted well, I think nerves got the best of us,” Boyd County coach Katee Neltner said. “I saw veterans passing like freshmen. … We didn’t execute, we didn’t defend the middle.”
It’s not known how much sleep Walters had, but if he looked a little bleary-eyed, it might be Movie Day for his history students.
“It may be whatever’s on Netflix that’s rated PG,” he said.