Lady Pats knocked out of VB regionals by defending champs

Published 11:55 am Tuesday, October 31, 2017

SOMERSET – The Lincoln County volleyball team’s stellar season came to a disappointing end Tuesday night at Pulaski County High School, as defending champion Southwestern knocked the Lady Patriots out of postseason contention.

Southwestern, which has won seven out of the last nine regional titles, took control of Tuesday’s match with an opening run of 11-1 in Game 1 and never looked back, sweeping Lincoln 3-0 in the quarterfinal round of the 12th Region Tournament.

For fans getting a look at the Lady Patriots for the first time in the regional match, they didn’t get to see the team that has taken the floor most of the season.

“The way we performed tonight was not the way we’ve played this season,” Lincoln coach Samantha Torres said. “It’s not that Southwestern’s not a good team, because they are a very good team, but we didn’t perform the way we can. Part of what we talked about in the huddle with the team was, ‘being the team you’ve been all season.’ There were moments of it and there were a lot of moments when we weren’t playing like we were capable of.”

The Lady Warriors (22-13) won 25-7, 25-15, 25-17, exploding out to a big lead in Games 1 and 2. They opened Game 1 on an 11-1 run, then jumped ahead 15-3 in Game 2. 

Lincoln (22-7) fell behind 4-1 in Game 3 before Taryn Johnson stepped behind the line to serve up three straight points and tie the game. But Southwestern would get the sideout to go up 5-4 then started to put the game away. The Lady Warriors led by as many as 11 points before capping the match with the Game 3 25-17 win.  

“We didn’t execute tonight. We just couldn’t score,” said Torres. “That’s what happens. We were ready to go. We were ready for that first point and then … the big lead, in that first set especially, hurt us. I think that big deficit sort of crushed their momentum. And that’s volleyball. Volleyball is a big mental game.”

Jessie Wilson had two aces and two kills for Lincoln, Jasmine Whited had five assists and nine digs, Taryn Johnson had four kills, Cassandra Jett had two kills and two blocks, Peyton Griffin had four assists, Savanna Smith had eight digs and Ashlyn Jarman had seven digs.

With the win, Southwestern advances to the semifinals against host Pulaski County. For Lincoln, the season has reached its end. Now, Torres and the Lady Patriots can look toward next season.

“It didn’t end how we wanted, but we have had a really good season and we’ve got a lot to grow with and move forward with because, I mean, I’ve got them all back,” Torres said. “That really helps going into next year. We’ve got everybody back and now we’ve seen these tougher teams, so we’ll definitely have a better sense of what we need to bring to the table.”