JEFFERSONTOWN - Allen Central finished runnerup in the statewide All “A” Classic volleyball tournament at the Mid American Volleuball Center in Jeffersontown on Saturday.
“Although we didn’t do as well in the championship as we would have hoped, it was a fantastic effort for us,” Allen Central Coach Larry Maynard said. “This team has gone where no 15th Region volleyball team or Allen Central athletic team, for that matter, has ever gone, competing in a state championship match/game. To say I am proud of these girls is an understatement. They are committed to this program and have a very dedicated work ethic. I won’t go into the public/private debate or club/non-club discussion but folks are amazed we do not have a club team by the way we play.”
Allen Central started pool play at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning against Jackson County and won 2-0 (25-12, 25-4). At 10:30 a.m., Allen Central met Monroe County, jumped out ahead and held its scoring down, winning 2-0 (25-17, 25-13). Then, Allen Central met Trinity (Whitesville).
Both Allen Central and Trinity (Whitesville) were 2-0 in the pool and met to determine the number one seed in the championship bracket (Elite 8) and face the number two seed from Pool D (either Lexington Christian or Bishop Brossart - both with historically outstanding volleyball programs). Allen Central, however, had to get past Trinity. Determined Trinity managed to defeat Allen Central 25-23 in the first game. After spotting Trinity a couple of points, Allen Central battled back to win 25-14 in the second set. Then it was on for the third set. After Trinity had moved out in front, Allen Central regained the momentum and eventually prevailed 25-23 to claim the number one seed.
Allen Central met Bishop Brossart in the first round of the championship bracket (Elite 8). Allen Central pulled out a hard-fought win, defeating Bishop Brossart 2-0 (25-22, 25-23). Trinity battled Lexington Christian and won 2 -1 to face Saint Henry.
Allen Central eventually defeated Green County 2-1 (20-25, 25-18, 25-21) to advance to the state title match.
“Now, we were in the state semifinals, we had been there before in 2011 but were set back by Louisville Holy Cross at Paducah,” Maynard recalled. “We knew Green County was a very good program and were number one in their pool and they defeated Louisville Presentation to get to the semifinal match. We were very tense and, quite frankly, intimidated and got out of our game and out of system way too many times. Down by nine, 24-15, we finally started playing but, it was too little too late, and lost the first set 20-25. However, we came off life support - stopped the bleeding, realized that we could play with them. Our confidence was high and our goal, to make it to the All ‘A’ State Championship that we set in June was in sight, we poured it on them in the second set 25-18. I don’t think Green County expected us to battle as hard as we did nor do I believe they knew what hit them. In the third set, it ran even through the first 15 points, with as many lead changes, then we made our run, jumping to a four point lead, and really did not look back clinging to a 25-21 victory that put us into the All ‘A’ State Championship. Saint Henry rolled past Trinity in two sets, winning 25-7, 25-7.”
St. Henry pulled away to defeat Allen Central in the championship match, winning 2-0 (25-11, 25-8).
“I won’t make excuses, but emotionally, we were spent - euphoria and hard to get mentally ready for the championship,” Maynard said. “They were elated to make it to the state championship, crying, tears of joy, with an ‘it is over and we did it’ mentality, and didn’t quite realize what they had to do to compete with Saint Henry, reigning All ‘A’ State champion and ranked seventh in the state - a great program. Although we lost 2 - 0 and it would have been something to have won the championship, the girls represented the 15th Region and Allen Central well - they are the Statewide All ‘A’ Volleyball Runnerup, won the region seven times and have a 22-3 overall record - they should be proud of their accomplishments.”
Rachel Moore and Katie Kendrick were named to the all tournament team. Kendrick had 73 kills and six service aces with 27 blocks and 27 digs defensively . Moore had 47 kills, 11 service aces and 15 kill-assists and defensively scooped up 36 and blocked seven. Offensively, Allen Central served at 94 percent (309 attempts, 37 aces, 17 errors), killed 168 on .533 hitting and registered 157 assists. Defensively, Allen Central blocked 51 and returned 419, earning 137 digs while committing 106 errors for 81 percent.