Kentucky state volleyball | Assumption crowned champion for 4th straight year

Kentucky state volleyball | Assumption crowned champion for 4th straight year


Kentucky state volleyball | Assumption crowned champion for 4th straight year


After a grueling five-set victory over rival Mercy in Saturday’s semifinals, Assumption High School volleyball coach Ron Kordes was concerned about a letdown in Sunday’s State Tournament final against Notre Dame.

So after the Pandas pulled within 19-18 in the first set, Kordes called a timeout to reset his team’s focus.

“We didn’t want to lose that first set,” he said. “I called timeout and told them, ‘This is not what we talked about. We’re waiting for them to decide our fate here.’ We talked before the game about not playing not to lose and taking charge, and we weren’t doing that.”

Alyssa Cavanaugh took charge with a kill out of the timeout and the Rockets scored the final six points of the set on their way to a 25-18, 25-13, 28-26 victory over Notre Dame at Valley High School.

The No. 2-ranked Rockets (37-6) captured their fourth straight state title and 18th in the past 22 years. Assumption also captured its third state championship in nine days, having won the field hockey crown on Nov. 2 and the Class 3-A cross country title on Saturday.

Cavanaugh finished with a match-high 12 kills, and Alexa Filley had 31 assists and 10 digs on her way to tournament MVP honors.

Assumption lost to Notre Dame during a rare three-game losing streak in September but turned its season around in October and won its final 17 matches.

“We forgot about everything we’ve accomplished before in all of the past years,” Filley said. “We did it for us. We wanted to go out and finish our last season on top.”

Heidi Thelen had 11 kills to lead No. 3 Notre Dame (30-8), which won the last of its eight state championships in 1994. Coach Andrea Lanham said there was a noticeable difference in the Assumption squad her team beat in September and the one that played Sunday.

“They definitely weren’t gelled … but in the games in between they’ve really gotten strong,” Lanham said.

Lanham said her team lost its chance to gain momentum Sunday at the end of the first set. Lauren Hollman’s kill had pulled the Pandas within 19-18 before the Assumption timeout.

After Anderson’s kill made it 20-18, Notre Dame committed four errors in the final five points of the set.

“We started strong and were playing well, and then we had a couple of little things in a timeout … and got our minds out of it for just a split second,” Lanham said. “That’s all it takes against Assumption, and they pulled ahead.”

Assumption used a 7-0 run midway through the second set to take a 13-5 lead and cruised from there, but the end of the final set had some drama.

Notre Dame committed a net violation to fall behind 24-21 but scored three straight points to pull even. The Rockets had two more championship points end with service errors before a Notre Dame service error made it 27-26. Lauren Tutwiler’s kill ended the match and sparked a wild celebration on the court.

“We punched out a little too early there,” Kordes said of his team’s late mistakes.

But the Rockets rallied, just as they did after that three-game losing streak in September. And a team that started the season ranked No. 1 nationally before dropping in the polls at least showed once again that it’s Kentucky’s best.

“We were really up and down this year, but we focused really hard in practice,” said Tutwiler, who finished with eight kills. “It was more about becoming more of a team and becoming close to each other than it was volleyball skills. We trusted each other more. …

“It was a big thing in the front of the seniors’ minds. We didn’t want to be that class to lose going out. A four-peat is awesome.”

Lauren Tutwiler, Cassidy Anderson (Assumption); Heidi Thelen, Lauren Hollman, Morgan Hentz (Notre Dame); CaLayci Coffey, Lynsey Short (Henry Clay); Lexie Hamrick, Courtney Crable (Mercy); Hannah Givens (Green County); Rachyl Miller (Logan County); Jasmine Bennett (McCracken County); Leah Hollander (Oldham County). Alexa Filley (Assumption).MVP:


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