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Breathitt VolleyCats – Region Champs

Breathitt VolleyCats - photo by Brendon D. Miller - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Breathitt defeats Powell in Four sets to win First 14th Region Title

Irvine – October 31, 2019 – Brendon D. Miller – Bluegrass Sports Nation

What a night at the 14th Region Volleyball Tournament. Two newcomers to the 14th Region Title Game, Breathitt County, Champions of the 55th District, and Powell County, Champions of the 56th District, met to decide the 14th ticket to the State Volleyball Tournament. This was Breathitt’s first ever 14th Region Championship Game appearance in their history, and Powell’s first since 2010. Breathitt had won a 12th Region Championship in 2000.

The match up was fitting as the two were the two winningest teams in the Region this year with Coach Ken Jones leading his Lady Pirates to 26 wins on the season and Coach Stephen Bowling logging 25 at the helm of the VolleyCats. This was the rubber match as Breathitt had defeated Powell 3-1 (16-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-18) in Stanton on August 27, and Powell had come to Jackson on October 3rd, and swept Breathitt 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-23).

VolleyCats with the Hardware – photo Brendon D. Miller

Powell opened with a lineup of Sierra Dawson, Macey Howell, Nallie Marcum, Lauren Everman Hannah Jones, and Gabriella Huntsberger, with Demara Sparks, Joanna Centers, Alex Gulley, and Trinity Ritchie playing during the match.

Breathitt countered with Adryona Salyers, Kaileigh Brown, Adreonna Schutz, Tory Gross, Emalee Watts and Chloe Richart, with Kenzi Robertson in regular rotation with Gross, and Kaylea Ritchie playing as well.

Breathitt won a nip and tuck 1st set 25-23, and then took the 2nd 25-20 to take a commanding 2-0 lead.

Misfortune struck in the 3rd set for the VolleyCats however, as Junior Adryona Salyers injured her right knee while scrambling for a dig and the injury initially looked serious. However, after having the knee looked at by the trainer, Salyers pulled a “Willis Reed” and returned to the line up during the set. Though clearly hobbled, Salyers showed great toughness and will to win as she played the rest of the match. Powell went on to win the 3rd set 25-16 to keep their hopes alive.

As emotion rose in the Estill County High School gym and the fan base of each team really came to life in the 4th set, Breathitt surged behind great effort to take the set, 25-21, match 3-1 and the golden ticket to State! After the final point, a wild celebration ensued on the court with the VolleyCats and their fans jubilant with excitement.

Moment of Victory – photo Brendon D. Miller
VolleyCats Celebrate – photo Brendon D. Miller
Coaches Embrace – photo by Brendon D. Miller

Powell played great and were led by their all-tournament selections Seniors Sierra Dawson and Gabriella Huntsberger, and Junior Macey Howell. Congratulations to Coach Jones and all the Lady Pirates on an excellent year and great run in the Tournament.

Lady Pirates – photo by Brendon D. Miller

Breathitt had excellent play from all seven of their core rotation. Salyers, a junior, was exceptional with many crucial digs in the fourth set while playing injured, Senior Tory Gross was huge on serve and in the back line including her service ace on match point to seal the deal, and Junior Kenzie Robertson patrolled the net. Breathitt had four all-tournament selections. Senior Chloe Richart played exceptionally well all-around with specifically great play at the net. Senior Kaileigh Brown was tremendous with powerful serves, great back line play, and equally powerful balls at the net. Sophomore Emalee Watts was simply all over the court digging balls, scoring many winners with plays at the net and short sets, and was the calming force for the VolleyCats with consistent set after set for the hitters. Sophomore, and Tournament MVP, Adreonna Schutz was unstoppable on the night. When Schutz rose for the kill, Powell did not have an answer for her power and ability, and her jump serve was lethal.

BSN was proud and privileged to Webcast this game!!! Incredible viewership. See separate post to watch the game and relive the excitement of the evening!! Click link http://bluegrasssportsnation.com/14th-region-volleyball-championship-game-webcast/

Breathitt will now face state power and Region 7 Champion, Assumption in the KHSAA State Tournament next Friday, November 8th to be played at Valley High School in Louisville at 12:30 PM.

Thanks to our sponsors of the Championship Game: Citizen Bank & Trust Co. of Jackson and Hutch Automotive/Tire Works

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