Lady Rebels win region volleyball title

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By Brian Blair

For two years they didn’t win a match. Saturday afternoon in Warsaw they won a championship. The Owen County Lady Rebels volleyball team claimed the 8th Region All “A” Classic earning a berth in the State Tournament.

“I still can’t believe it,” said head coach T.J. Wesselman. “It shows how much this group of girls has worked.”

The hard work began to pay in the first round of the tournament when Owen County defeated Gallatin County 21-18 and 25-9.

It was the second time the Lady Rebels had defeated the Lady Wildcats in less than 48 hours. The girls won a similar match on Thursday night in Warsaw 25-22 and 25-5. 

In the semifinals, the Lady Rebels bounced back after dropping the first game of the match. Williamstown took the first game 25-21 before Owen County claimed the next two games 25-16 and 25-18 to advance to the finals.

Trimble County also made their way into the championship game by knocking out Walton-Verona in the semifinals.

The Lady Raiders hung around in game one before the Lady Rebels pulled away to win 25-17. Trimble County cut the lead to 19-14 causing Wesselman to call a time-out. Whatever he said to the team during the break worked as the team closed out the first game on a kill by Mollie Borchers from left side of the net.

Game two was much closer as Trimble County jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Owen County came back to take a 3-2 lead, but it did not last long for the Lady Rebels again gained the advantage at 5-4. They extended the lead to 15-10 and appeared to have some momentum.

As they have done all season, the Lady Rebels did not lose their confidence or their focus and began to chip away.

“If we communicated well on the court and stay focused throughout the tournament, we had a good shot to win it,” said Wesselman following the championship match.

The Lady Rebels did both, and they slowly chipped away at the Trimble County lead. Owen County took the lead for good at 18-17 and pulled away from there for a 25-21 victory.

Following the championship point, the Lady Rebels ran on the court and celebrated the win as a team.

“It makes our accomplishment official,” said Mollie Borchers following the match. “Now we get a banner in the gym and we have something to put on it.”

While Wesselman will get the credit for coaching the team to the title, the first-year coach also acknowledged the work put in during the last three years by former coach Amanda Borchers.

“Everyone is going to say congratulations to you and your team, but there has been a lot of work done the previous three years to get us to this opportunity.”

Wesselman also praised his entire team on the accomplishment.

“It shows how much this group of girls has worked and I give all the kudos to them. They make me look good.”

Lyndsey Robertson, Kayla Simpson, Chelsea True and Brittany Clark were all named to the All-Tournament Team. Mollie Borchers was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament.

Robertson thinks the win will have an effect on the rest of the Lady Rebels’ season.

“I think it is going to help it wonders because we know that we have what it takes to win,” she said.

Owen County will advance to the State Tournament to be held Saturday in Richmond.

The day will begin with pool play at 8:45 a.m. against Covington Holy Cross at Berea High School’s new gym. They will then meet up with Louisville Holy Cross in the same gym at 10:45 a.m.

At 12:45 p.m. the Lady Rebels will take on Harlan in McBrayer Arena on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University.

Following pool play, the top two teams in each pool will advance to the Championship Division bracket and the bottom two teams will play in the Bronze Division bracket.