News Democrat

Lady Jays celebrate first victory

Ripley’s Whitney King rises for a kill in the Lady Jays’ Sept. 20 win over St. Patrick.


RULH volleyball squad tops St. Pat, 3-1 – 

By Wade Linville – 

The Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Lady Jays have been working hard and having fun this season, almost everything members of a high school varsity volleyball program could hope for. But their was one thing the Lady Jays were lacking as they ventured through the first half of their 2017 court campaign, and that was success in the form of match victories. Their search for a victory to break an lengthy losing streak came to an end on Wednesday evening, as the Lady Jays were able to claim their first win of the season by topping the visiting St. Patrick Lady Saints 3-1.
The Lady Jays have been close in matches this season, winning single sets against some skilled teams. While showing significant improvement under the leadership of their second-year head coach Kirsten Grant, the RULH High School volleyball program is certainly moving in the right direction, a program that was on a downward spiral before Grant took over last year.
“Last season was my first year, and they had only won one or two games. Mason County we had beat (last year), but it was a scrimmage. We actually beat Whiteoak (last season), but we weren’t beating any other teams in any sets. This year, we beat Fayetteville a set, we beat Lynchburg a set, and now we finally won a (full) game, so they are gradually getting better,” Grant said of her Lady Jays following Wednesday’s victory. “It’s exciting.”
The Lady Jays started off Wednesday’s match on an excellent note, rising to an early 6-0 lead en route to a 25-18 victory to take a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Jays climbed to a 3-0 lead in set one behind the service of Meggie Scott, then it was a kill by Whitney King that left the Lady Saints trailing 4-0.
Following an ace by Scott, the Lady Jays stood at a 5-0 advantage in set one, and another kill by Whitney King widened the margin to six points.
The Lady Saints were able to cut the Ripley lead to 7-3 in set one, but a kill by Halee King followed by an ace from Whitney King lifted the Lady Jays to a 9-3 lead.
The Ripley lead rose to 18-11 in set one before the Lady Saints began their late rally, trimming the Lady Jays’ lead to 18-14.
The Lady Jays were able to find their rhythm once again in set one with kills coming from Whitney King and Andrea Preston to leave the Lady Saints trailing 22-15.
Ripley’s Savannah Proffitt stepped to the service line to help the Lady Jays seal the deal in set one, firing off an ace to lift the Lady Jays to a 24-15 lead.
The Lady Jays got off to an early 4-1 lead in set two with kills by Whitney King and an ace by Tori Lewis, but the Lady Saints would rally back to tie the score at five apiece.
In a set that started off close, the Lady Jays would pull ahead late to claim a 25-15 to rise to a lead of 2-0 in the match.
Whitney King seemed to heat up as the match rolled along, dominating the front line to play a significant role in the Ripley win. It was a kill by Whitney King that broke a 12-12 knot in set two, putting the Lady Jays on top 13-12. From that point on, the Lady Jays never looked back in set two. An ace by Scott expanded the Ripley lead to 15-13, then it was another kill by Whitney King that widened the margin to 16-13.
Once again, it was Proffitt stepping to the service line to help seal the deal for the Lady Jays in set two, as she did in set one. A pair of aces by Proffitt left the Lady Saints trailing 23-15, as the Lady Jays went on to win the set by 10.
Set three went to the Lady Saints, as they were able to top the Lady Jays 25-23 to cut Ripley’s match lead to 2-1, but it was the home standing Lady Jays celebrating a close win in set four to come out with the match victory.
It was an impressive showing for several members of the RULH volleyball squad in Wednesday’s match win, a team filled with players who seem to love their turn at the service line.
Proffitt, Megan Jolley, Halee King, Preston, and Lewis were among those to find success at the service line while firing for aces in the victory over St. Patrick. Among those coming through with some gutsy digs in Wednesday’s victory were Ripley’s Hannah Washburg, Jolley, and Proffitt. Combined with the aggressive play on the front line by Whitney King, the Lady Saints stood little chance of topping the Lady Jays in Wednesday’s match.
The win brought some much needed confidence to the Lady Jays, and hopefully their success on Wednesday will carry over into future matches as they make their way through the later part of their regular season schedule.