Lady Panthers volleyball had its season come to an end in the first round of the Volleyball State Tournament, falling to the Bowling Green in three straight sets on the road (25-12, 25-13, 25-19).
Bowling Green came out in the first set looking to take control of the match from the jump, working its way to a 5-2 lead.
A 3-0 run gave them an 8-2 lead, before the Lady Panthers bounced back and cut it to 8-4. But the Purples responded, as their quick offensive attack had rattled Daviess County as they took a 13-6 lead and forced a timeout.
The timeout didn’t slow down Bowling Green in the slightest, as it carried its lead to 19-8. Daviess County was able to grab four more points, but they had no answer for the Purples’ offense and fell 25-12 in the first set.
Tied at 3-3 to open the second set, the Lady Panthers used a 3-0 run to take a 6-3 lead. However, Bowling Green responded with a 5-0 run to take a 8-6 lead and force a Daviess County timeout.
The Purples stayed hot out of the timeout, extending the run to 9-0 and taking a 12-6 lead. The run halted at 10-0, when the Lady Panthers responded to make it 13-7.
But every time Daviess County had tried to stifle Bowling Green, they had an answer. This time it was in the form of a 3-0 run to go up 16-7.
The Purples controlled the remainder of the set, coming out in front 25-13 to take a 2-0 lead. Both teams traded points back and forth to start the third set, finding themselves tied at 6-6.
Bowling Green then quickly put together a 5-0 run, jumping out to an 11-6 lead. Daviess County fought to try and cut away at its deficit, making it a 13-10 game. The Purples brought it to 15-10 with two straight, but the Lady Panthers battled back and made it 16-14.
Daviess County was able to tie it at 18-18 shortly after, using a 4-0 run to gain traction. However, Bowling Green had momentum on its side after taking a 20-18 lead and eventually sealed the match at 25-19 as Daviess County’s season came to a close with the 3-0 sweep.
“Overall, I’m very pleased [with how we played],” Head Coach Tyla Bailey said. “We had played Bowling Green at the beginning of the season and I feel like tonight we showed a huge improvement. Bowling Green is a very well-coached and well-disciplined team.”
Juniors Josie Newcom (9) and Adylan Ayer (6) led the way offensively, combining for 15 kills while Lexi Owen served up 16 assists.
“We had preached a lot about mentality,” Bailey said. “The first time we played them it was kind of like we weren’t confident and we didn’t feel like we had what it took to even play them. So that affected us early on in the season, but I feel like tonight we showed glimpses of a much better mindset and a team mentality.”
While the end result wasn’t in their favor, Bailey has been proud of her team for battling constantly no matter what the challenge was in every set this season.
“They’re fighters,” Bailey said. “Like we just talked about, it could be like ‘this match is totally over,’ but they never lose hope and they just keep fighting. I could not ask for a better group that just has a fighting mentality.”
Bailey said that their lone senior Kayla Clark had a great senior year and that she, her play and her leadership will be very missed, but knows that this match has provided them with ample experience for the future.
“This was a good match for us going forward,” Bailey said. “It’s definitely something to build upon. We know that this group, they’ve already set history, we always talk about history, but they’ve set the precedent of what’s to follow.”
Bailey said that she was thrilled with Daviess County not falling to the expectations of others and having a dominant season with an overall record of 22-10 while grabbing district and regional titles.
“Early on people were kind of unsure and doubting us and thought ‘well, this season they won’t be as strong and all that,’” Bailey said. “But the girls had other plans. So I’m very thankful that we’ve had major improvements from the very beginning of the year.”