The Franklin-Simpson Lady Cats suffered their second 13th District loss of the season with a 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 28-30 and 25-14) loss to the Todd County Central Lady Rebels last Tuesday night at the F-S Gym.
The Lady Cats and Lady Rebels have moved to 2-2 in district play as both teams trail the Logan County Cougars, who are 4-0 in the district, by two games.
"We were down two players and the two players that we were down (Shelby Johnston and Erica Stradtner) does a lot for the team," Lady Cats head coach Megan Vincent said. "Shelby can play two positions and being down like that, it was two key players that I had to adjust the entire team for. Even though we lost, I'm proud that we battled and happy with the result from changing things on the court."
"It was exciting to get the win tonight in four sets. It would have been even better if we could have closed the match out in three sets," Lady Rebel's head coach Stephanie Conquest. "In the past, I would have been more nervous about winning the first two sets and dropping the third set. Tonight, I felt like that they were going to finish the game off. We have played some very tough teams and our record doesn't look that great but playing those tough teams have got us ready for matches like this. This win is huge but we can't just settle. We must get better. Our communication has grown but our movement especially on the back row needs to be better. And we need to get our matches off to a better start. We are slow starters and we need to come out from the start and be more aggressive."
Franklin-Simpson led early on in the 1st set. They forced 10 unforced errors with junior Alera Barbee with two kills, an ace and a free ball. Senior Maddie Squires with three free balls. But, Todd County Central rallied and seized control of the set midway thought it to win the set, 25-20.
In the 2nd set, senior Lexy Vaughn had a couple of aces along with one each from senior Rylie Spears and Barbee. Barbee also had two more kills with one each from senior Cassidy Eversole and junior Fantasia Suggs. But it was the same story for both teams in the set as it was in the first - the Lady Cats led early, but the Lady Rebels came on strong late to close out the set, 25-22 to lead 2-0.
The third set was a back and forth affair between the two teams as it went into overtime. Franklin-Simpson forced 16 unforced errors with Vaughn serving up two more aces along with one from senior Meadow Hall and Eversole. Eversole also had a touch and an ace and Hall had a free ball along with Suggs and Hannah Wallace. The Lady Cats fought off a couple of set points and pulled off a 30-28 3rd set victory.
Franklin-Simpson scored two points early off unforced errors. The Lady Cats scored seven points off unforced errors with two aces from Barbee and one each from Hall and Suggs but from there, Todd County Central took the momentum away and closed out the match 3-1 with a 25-14 victory in the 4th set.
"Very proud of some players that are normally JV players that stepped up tonight for us," Vincent said. "Hannah (Wallace) played well and so did Lauren (Johnson). It had to be nervous to step up and play their first varsity game and it is a testament to them as Hannah almost played an entire game. She took the ball and rolled with it. When Lauren was in the game, she played with no fear and I'm sure she was nervous but it didn't show. Also proud of some of the varsity players like Alera (Barbee) for getting those deep balls with her length and athleticism, she didn't break a sweat doing so. Cassidy (Eversole) was in her mode, just battling out there and Rylie (Spears) leading the team when she is on the floor."
The Lady Cats play their final 13th district game of the season when they host the Logan County Lady Cougars on Tuesday night beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the F-S gym.