Thomasville bounces ECHS from Super RegionalsPublished 11:14am Wednesday, October 30, 2013
“We were close to advancing, but we just couldn’t finish one more set,” said Elmore County volleyball coach Kimberly Moncrief about her team’s dramatic five-set elimination to Thomasville in the first round of Super Regionals Friday afternoon.
The Lady Panthers suffered a setback early in the first set with senior outside hitter Kaitlyn McCurdy leaving the game with a knee injury. Elmore County couldn’t overcome her absence as the Lady Tigers won two of the last three sets, 25-21, 11-25, 25-11, 22-25, 8-15, to hand ECHS an early round exit.
“Kaitlyn McCurdy, our starting outside hitter, got hurt in the first set, which kind of hurt our offensive attack,” Moncrief said.
Elmore County has had the luxury of four, seasoned veteran seniors in its starting rotation all year long. Once McCurdy went down, Moncrief had to ask younger players, who hadn’t played much, to step up in a playoff match.
“We were able to adjust some, with Alexis Eckstein, Brittany Matthews, Hannah Traylor, and Amanda Smith stepping in at different times and doing a great job,” the coach said. “But it is difficult at this time in the season to fill in for someone who has produced well over the whole year, and also it is difficult for the other five players that she is used to working with on the court.”
The Lady Panthers held on to take the first set, but the void of McCurdy became prevalent to Thomasville. The Lady Tigers mounted some momentum, and stifled ECHS in the second set as they were adjusting to new personnel.
But Elmore County, led by senior middle hitter Patty Holley who finished with six kills, found some success in the third frame, and flipped the script on the Lady Tigers to go up 2-1 with the 25-11 set win.
Needing just one more set victory in two attempts, the disrupted chemistry finally caught up with ECHS and Thomasville senior Deiondria Williams took over.
THS jumped out to an 18-12 lead in the fourth frame. With good defense, Elmore County crept back in to close to 22-21 after an ace by junior hitter Kenya Brown. Williams wasn’t going to let her relinquish the set, as she scored the Lady Tigers’ last three points to send the match to a deciding fifth set.
In the final frame, the Lady Panthers couldn’t get anything going, as THS pulled away for the decisive 15-8 victory.
Although her group didn’t move on in the playoffs, Moncrief said the team, especially the seniors, have a lot to be proud of.
“I am very proud of these girls, all of them, and what they have accomplished all year,” she said. “Four straight area championships is a huge accomplishment for the seniors. We will miss them, and they will leave a great legacy to our team.
Senior libero led Elmore County with nine digs, while Brown added five. Senior setter Brooke Nettles had eight assist and three kills.