Lady Lions take second place

In their second year as a volleyball program, Pineville showed they are a team to watch in the 51st District. The Lady Lions pushed and competed with Knox Central in the district championship on Tuesday. After losing the first set, Pineville battled back to a victory in the second.

The effort wasn’t enough as the Lady Panthers rolled through the final two sets to earn a 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-9, 25-12) victory over Pineville and claim the district championship.

“I’m really proud of our girls. We never want to settle, so we weren’t just satisfied to be here in this position. We wanted to take the win,” said Pineville coach Samantha North. “Knox Central is a very established team. We’re new, but we didn’t feel slighted just because we’re new. We didn’t feel like we were any less of a team. (Knox Central) came out and got the job done and we didn’t.”

Despite the loss, the Lady Lions have still earned a spot in the 13th Region tournament beginning on Saturday. Pineville will square off against 50th District champion Corbin at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Knox Central will battle South Laurel at 12:45 p.m.

North said making it to the regional tournament in the program’s second year of existence is really exciting.

“I came from a really small school like Pineville, so just the opportunity to play in region is huge,” said the second-year head coach. “I hope our girls get to experience that…just so they enjoy being there because it is a big deal.”

Tuesday’s game against Knox Central played out similar to how it has all season long. The two teams split the first two sets before the Lady Panthers took control.

In the first set, the Lady Panthers built a 22-11 lead before Pineville tried to stage a comeback. Kills by Makenzie Fuson and Jill Enix cut the lead to 22-13.

After Knox Central increased their lead to two, a service error and three consecutive kills by Fuson narrowed the deficit to 23-17. The Lady Panthers scored a point to return the lead to two before a Fuson kill and an attacking error brought the score to 24-19.

Knox Central closed the set out after that to claim a 25-19 set victory.

The Lady Panthers were able to grab an early lead in the second set taking a 7-3 advantage. Pineville cut the lead to 7-6 with the help of two aces by Fuson. The two teams battled with the Lady Lions tying the game twice before taking a 13-12 lead midway through the set.

Pineville built a 17-13 lead with an Enix kill and an attacking error by Knox Central capping the run. A Janae Adams kill and an attacking error cut the Lady Lion lead to 17-15.

That was as close as the Lady Panthers would get as Pineville outscored Knox Central 8-4 down the stretch to earn a 25-19 set victory. Enix tallied four kills during that final stretch of the set.

The third and fourth set was never in much question as Knox Central rolled to 25-9 and 25-12 victories to claim the district championship.

Enix, Fuson and Lillie Kelley each earned a spot on the all-tournament team.

Up Next

Pineville (14-10) travels to North Laurel at 2:30 p.m. to play Corbin (25-6) in the first round of the 13th Region tournament.

Knox Central (19-9) will square off against South Laurel (26-9) in the first round of the regional tournament.

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN