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SHELBYVILLE – Rivalry contests are supposed to induce nail-biting, hair-pulling and just about every other form of self-destruction but last Thursday's volleyball match between Anderson County and Shelby County might have taken things to some new extremes.
The Lady Bearcats outlasted Shelby in a key 30th District contest, 3-2 in games and did so on a night when neither team forged a lead of more than seven points. Anderson finally did that in the tie-breaker, jumping out to an 8-1 lead in the fifth game.
After seeming to be in control (18-12) in the fourth game, the Lady Bearcats saw Shelby rally for a 25-20 win, causing reason for concern in the Anderson camp.
“(Assistant coach) Bobby (Hardin) and I were so proud of them when they came back. It showed that they really did want it,” Anderson coach Courtney DeLong said. “We were concerned a bit, but mainly because they don't realize their potential. They can go so far if they have confidence in themselves and their team. They're so young that it's been a struggle for Bobby and I do get that across to them.”
The Lady Bearcats had taken the first set, 25-20, but Shelby, playing on Senior Night, came back with a 25-22 victory in the second set. Anderson had to earn extra points before posting a 29-27 win in game three.
Getting strong serves from Taylor Phillps and Ally Hayes, Anderson jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the tie-breaker and never allowed Shelby to get within four points the rest of the way.
“We had big plays it seemed from every position on the court,” DeLong said. “It's just really hard to pick one particular player because when playing five games there were several opportunities for everyone to excel in one way or another.”
The Lady Bearcats, 18-13 heading into this week, were to have played Collins on Tuesday night in the contest that would likely determine the district tournament's top seed. At 4-1 in the district, a Lady Bearcat win in that one could throw things into a tie-breaker, depending on Collins' contest with Spencer County, set for Thursday.
The 30th District volleyball tournament is set to get underway on Oct. 21 at Collins High School.
Anderson Co. 3, Spencer Co. 1
Anderson got a big district win over an improving Spencer County team last Tuesday, prevailing 25-14, 26-24, 16-25 and 25-18.
“Spencer County was our Pink Out for Breast Cancer Awareness,” DeLong said. “The girls had a great time and luckily we came out with a win. Bobby reminded them in huddles though that Spencer is a team that gets better with play. Every game they go they have a tendency to improve, which tends to be the opposite of what we do.”
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