This report appeared in the October 9, 2019 edition of the News Journal…
The 2019 Lady Colonels First Priority Volleyball Classic was held last Friday and Saturday at Whitley County Middle and High Schools. At the end of the two-day event the host Lady Colonels had gone 5-1 and finished as tournament runner-up, while the Cumberland Homeschool Trail Blazers finished 2-3 and were crowned champions of the consolation (Silver) bracket.
“It went really well,” said Whitley County head coach Neysa Countryman of the 2019 Classic. “We had some tough practices before the tournament, and I feel like we executed the things that we had worked on really well.”
The Lady Colonels won 2-0 over Jackson County, 2-0 over Red Bird and 2-0 over East Ridge in pool play before defeating Nelson County and North Laurel in bracket play Saturday. That set up a championship match between them and Wayne County, who would walk away as tourney champs after a 2-0 (25-16, 25-10) win.
“They’re giving me everything they’ve got,” Countryman said of her team’s effort. “They’re trying so hard, and we’ve got a couple more really good matches coming up to get us ready for the postseason.”
This year’s First Priority Classic had a bit of a different look, as only two courts were utilized instead of three (including Whitley County Intermediate School). This was made possible, because for the first time ever two nets were set up inside the high school gymnasium, allowing for a pair of games to be contested simultaneously at all times.
“It was awesome, and I was really happy that we got to do that,” said Countryman, who also reported no real problems with mistaken whistles or interruptions due to stray balls.
In all, a dozen teams participated in the 2019 Classic, including the Cumberland Homeschool Trail Blazers, who managed to turn a lot of heads with their performance on the court.
“We provide an outlet for homeschool girls that wouldn’t have the opportunity to play otherwise,” said Trail Blazers head coach Chad Greer. “We wanted to play against more public school teams this year, because the level of competition is typically higher. Last year we played five matches against public schools, but this year most of our games have been against public schools.”
It was evident from the outset last Friday that Cumberland is used to playing at a high level, losing a very close match to South Laurel before falling in another close contest against Bullitt East. A third game went right down to the wire early Saturday that saw Leslie County walk away victorious, leaving the Blazers at 0-3 in pool play.
“To be honest, we started off kind of rough,” explained Greer. “We could’ve competed better in pool play, but I think the nerves got the best of us. Every team that we faced in pool play, we just couldn’t put together a complete game against them.”
Cumberland managed to turn things around, however, salvaging what was left of the weekend with wins over Knox Central and Jackson County to come out on top of the tournament’s consolation bracket.
“My wife and I sat down and looked at it,” said Greer. “And we’ve played 23 sets over the course of the past week. I’m very proud of how resilient they’ve been, and of the great effort that they put forth in that tournament.”
The Trail Blazers, who feature several players from the Corbin/Whitley County area, are scheduled to compete in a tournament in Arkansas next week before travelling to play in a national tournament in Wichita, KS to close out their 2019 season. To find out more about their team, look them up on Facebook or visit them online at www.chatky.org.
You can also look for more information on Cumberland Homeschool Athletics in future editions of the News Journal, and be sure to look inside next week’s edition for more details on the upcoming KHSAA volleyball postseason featuring the Whitley Lady Colonels, the Corbin Lady Hounds, the Williamsburg Lady Jackets and the Lynn Camp Lady Cats.