HOPSPTS-09-08-21 COUNTY/HOPTOWN VB-PHOTO1

Christian County’s Hailey Sparks digs a ball in the Lady Colonels’ win over Hopkinsville.

After going down early in set one, the Christian County Lady Colonels flipped a switch, turned a deficit into a lead and used that momentum the rest of the way.

The Lady Colonels trailed early in the first set against Hopkinsville but once they got settled, they cruised to a 3-0 win over the Lady Tigers.

Hoptown entered the night short-handed as star Hailey Hallmark and head coach Jessica Shepherd were just two of multiple pieces of the Lady Tiger puzzle out of place on Tuesday night.

County head coach Rick Erickson knows this was a big district matchup but said with such big pieces out for Hoptown, he won’t be looking too much into the win.

“The way things are looking, it’s probably going to be us and Hopkinsville in the two and three seeds (in the Eighth District),” Erickson said. “This is a confidence win for us. Hoptown was shorthanded — (Hailey) Hallmark makes an enormous difference in their gameplan and how they play and they’ve got a couple of other players that missed that would help them. We aren’t going to read too much into it. It’s an early-season win, we’re happy to have it and Hoptown played pretty well given they had to make last-minute adjustments.”

Hoptown jumped out to a six-point lead in set one and had the Lady Colonels on the back foot

But Erickson’s group bounced back and took the first set 25-22.

County never looked back from there as it jumped out to leads in both the second and third set and never allowed the Lady Tigers to pounce, winning the next to sets and taking the match.

Erickson said he is hoping to see his team gain some steam after grabbing a big district win.

“This gave us an opportunity to work on things and we came out successful,” Erickson said. “They were trying some things that they weren’t comfortable with and had some success with it and that builds confidence in the players. I’ve said for a while now, confidence is one thing that we lack and once we get, we’re going to be a very successful team.”

After the slow start the Lady Colonels went to their strengths in the win.

“We controlled the defensive side of the game and we were good in serve and receive which have been two of our dominant traits,” he said. “Our hitters adjusted and made some good plays on balls that they haven’t been making. They stepped up and weren’t too nervous to step out of our comfort zone and that’s where our improvement really came from.”

With the Lady Tigers being down some key players, it led to some more out-of-system plays than the Lady Colonels probably expected coming in.

However, County’s defense held strong in some sporadic moments and continued to be a force for Erickson.

“When you have a Rylee Owens in the back row and a Hailey Sparks — as well as they read from playing volleyball year-round between club and high school — they understand that,” Erickson said. “In club tournaments, you’ll get several different types of play in one tournament. They’ve seen that and they adjust to it. They were able to anticipate when that first touch or second touch was coming over and help the defensive side of things.”

County will be in White Plains, Tennessee this weekend competing in the Summer Showdown while Hoptown will return to the court Thursday hosting Crittenden County.

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