VB: GRC rallies for Dig Pink win

Published 12:24 am Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Things looked dire for the George Rogers Clark High School volleyball team Tuesday night against district rival Bourbon County.

After losing their starting libero, the Cardinals were staring at two-set deficit. But the Cardinals rallied to win, 3-2 (21-25, 24-26, 25-18, 25-21, 15-9), locking up the top seed in the district tournament in the process.

“It was a rough go,” GRC coach Jessica Bryson said. “When you lose your leader on the court and your libero, it’s tough. Losing her really took us for a turn, but I think the girls handled it.”

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After dropping the first set, the Cardinals were tied 2-2 when libero Melanie Manns went down with an injury. Lindsey Craig raced to the locker room to retrieve her libero jersey, then right on the court to take Mann’s spot.

“She (Craig) came through,” Bryson said. “She played an amazing game. She really stepped up. She did the libero position proud, and she did her teammates proud.”

GRC seemed to have the second game under control after a 4-0 run gave the Cards a 19-15 lead. They were up 24-20 when Bourbon — refusing to go quietly — rattled off six straight points for a two-set lead.

In the third set, GRC trailed 11-8 but used a 10-2 run to rally for a 25-18 win.

In the fourth set, the Cards seemed to be on cruise control, building a 12-3 lead.

“The key was definitely figuring out how to consistently get the ball in and over until the other team made the mistake,” Bryson said. “In the beginning, they were just banging balls. They were trying to kill it, being rough. After, we started to spot it and were playing well and sticking together as a team.”

But again, the Colonels refused to give in. They turned a 23-13 deficit into a 24-21 game, threatening to rally again, but the Cards were able to close it out and force a fifth set.

It proved to be much like the other four sets, with GRC opening a 5-1 lead only to watch the Colonels pull even at 5. Bourbon got as close as 11-9, but the Cardinals pulled away to secure the win.

The win improves the Cards to 18-15 on the season and the top record in the 40th District. They will have a first-round bye in the district tournament while Bourbon will have to face Montgomery County in the opening road. GRC is set to host the tournament next week, and the district champs will host the region tournament.

“We’re sitting in a good spot,” Bryson said. “Bourbon was our toughest competition. Montgomery does still does present a threat, but if we continue to push like we did tonight, we’ll be able to go far.”

Before that, GRC will have a tune-up in the regular-season finale at Bryan Station Thursday.

For a good cause

The game was GRC’s annual Dig Pink game which serves to raise awareness for breast cancer, raise money for cancer-related charities and honor those touched by cancer.

“Each player played in honor of a person whow as affected by cancer in some way,” Bryson said. “It’s a great even to raise a lot of funds for a good cause. A lot of people came out. There were a lot of festitives. I think the girls enjoyed. I think we started the game a little rough because the girls were still a little bit into the festivities — it was a little bit of a bigger crowd tonight than they are used to.

“But they pulled through and overall it was a good night.”