This From the Sidelines column appeared in the November 13, 2019 print edition of the News Journal…
Well, the fall 2019 sports season is certainly ending with a bang. All four of our coverage area high school football teams have advanced to the second round of this year’s state championship playoffs, and at least three have a great chance of playing their way into a regional title game next week. In addition to that, the Corbin Lady Hounds volleyball team is coming off of the program’s first-ever victory in a state championship tournament.
I would like to take this opportunity to personally congratulate the Lady Hounds volleyball team on this historic achievement, which, quite frankly, many did not expect to see take place this season.
There were a lot of people, myself included, who were confident that last year’s team would be the ones to go to state and pick up a win in the first round. They had won 32 games leading up to a meeting with a McCracken County team that seemed very beatable, at least on paper. As it turns out, McCracken took the game three sets to none, and Corbin’s quest for a state tourney win would continue for at least another season.
This year, the Lady Hounds featured several younger players after they graduated five key seniors from the 2018 squad. They also went through a coaching change, with Vanessa Ross taking over for former head coach Bryan Johnson. These developments, plus the fact that several other teams in the 13th Region were looking to be much improved, convinced many folks that Corbin would not be able to make it back to the KHSAA state tournament for a third straight year. The Hounds had other ideas, though.
The 2019 Corbin volleyball team, led by senior Mickayla Coppock, exceeded all expectations, defeating a very talented South Laurel Lady Cardinals group an incredible four times, including in the championship games of this year’s 50th District and 13th Region tournaments.
The Lady Hounds then made the trip to Louisville last Friday and managed to pull out a 3-1 (25-15, 20-25, 25-21, 25-14) win over Region 16 champs Rowan County before falling to eventual state runner-up Mercy the following day.
It was just an amazing run for the CHS volleyballers this fall. Everyone involved should be super proud of the many great accomplishments along the way. Congrats again, ladies!
Another team on the cusp of doing something really special is the University of the Cumberlands football team, who could complete a perfect 10-0 regular season with a win over visiting Lindsey Wilson College this Saturday afternoon.
The football Patriots have looked very good so far this fall, going undefeated with major victories that included a historic 98-0 win over rivals Union in the annual Battle of the Brass Lantern, and a recent 14-7 win over divisional opponents Georgetown on the Tigers’ own home field.
The bad news in all of this is the fact that Lindsey Wilson is also coming into this game undefeated, and they have to be considered the favorites when you compare final scores against common opponents this season. Cumberlands has won their previous five divisional games by a combined 181-90. Meanwhile, the Blue Raiders have scored more points overall while at the same time allowing fewer scores from opponents, 280-82.
However, none of that really matters once the ball is kicked off and the action is underway. It will all come down to who wants it more this Saturday, and I predict it will be one heck of a game. Good luck Patriots!
Finally, if you are looking for something to do Saturday before or after the big showdown on the football field, you might want to consider heading over to the O. Wayne Rollins Center to check out the Hometown Bank Hoopfest preseason basketball scrimmage series.
The event is scheduled to get underway at 11:30 a.m. with the Garrard County girls versus the Williamsburg Lady Jackets. Pulaski County versus the North Laurel Lady Jaguars will follow that contest, and the girls’ competition will wrap up at approximately 2:30 p.m. with Somerset versus the Corbin Lady Hounds.
The boys games will kick off at about 4:00 p.m. with Corbin taking on Wesley Christian, followed by Pulaski County versus South Laurel, Rockcastle County versus Whitley County and Southwestern versus North Laurel in the final contest of the evening.
This will be a great opportunity to see many of our local area teams in action at one place on one day. I guarantee that whoever is able to attend this Hoopfest will come away with a pretty good idea about what to expect in the 13th Region during the upcoming 2019-2020 high school basketball season.
Speaking of the upcoming basketball season, let me briefly remind everyone that our annual season preview special section will be appearing in the paper soon, on Wednesday, November 27. I hope you’ll check it out!
Until then, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the sidelines!