DRAFFENVILLE – Seven times in a row, over the past two seasons, Marshall County had lost to Christian Fellowship on the volleyball court.
A 3-1 victory for the Lady Marshals Tuesday night snapped the streak and also propelled Marshall County into the regional tournament this week.
They will meet District 1 champion Fulton City tonight at 7 o’clock in the final first-round game of the eight-team tournament.
But the trip to the region tourney is just icing on the cake.
“It was just great to finally beat ‘em,” Lady Marshal senior Rachael Reed said after the semifinal match in the District 4 tournament at the MCHS Auxiliary Gym.
“We just played all together and just did it when it actually mattered.”
CCA, a 3-0 winner over Murray in Tuesday’s opening match, defeated Marshall County 3-1 in the championship game Wednesday.
But for the rival MCHS and CFS teams, Tuesday night’s match was what mattered.
The Lady Marshals, who last defeated their neighbors from Briensburg on Sept. 9, 2010, jumped ahead with a 25-18 first-set win and then made it 2-0 with a 25-21 second-game victory.
However, fresh in the minds of all players was a comeback that lifted CFS from a 2-0 deficit to a 3-2 win two weeks earlier.
CFS, led by standout hitter Morgan Allen, stormed back in the third game, which was tied nine times before CFS won two straight points after a 23-23 deadlock to make it 2-1.
The Lady Marshals gradually drew away from an 8-8 tie and built a double-digit advantage at 21-11, then made it 22-11 and 23-11 with a run of six straight points.
Marshall County finished off the match victory 25-14.
“It feels really good,” senior Markea McKendree said. “We played as a team and we played hard against them all year. It feels good to beat ‘em when it matters.”
Lady Eagles coach Suzie Burnett, whose team finished with a 22-7 record, was gracious in defeat.
“If somebody is going to win, they need to earn every point they get, and they did,” Burnett said. “We made them earn what they got and they made us earn what we got.”
First-year MC coach Dan Langhi praised his team for its consistent play.
“We knew we could play them,” Langhi said. “We just knew we had to put it together for a whole game. We had games where we came out strong, and then kind of lost interest.”
Langhi said his frontline players also had to adjust to the athleticism of Allen.
“The first couple of times, we jumped with her,” Langhi said. “We don’t jump as well as she does, and we’re coming down, and she’s hittin’.”
Langhi said the Lady Marshals were able to adjust their timing to get their hands up as Allen was going for kills.
“We moved their blocks over and we found holes,” senior Madison Grammer said.
Both coaches were pleased with their team’s effort.
“I don’t feel like our girls gave them anything,” Burnett said. There’s always little things that could have gone a different way. But you can’t live in that. Every point, you’ve got to keep going forward.”
CFS capped its season last weekend with the championship in the Kentucky Christian Athletic Conference state tournament in Louisville.
McKenzie Potter, who formerly attended Marshall County High, is the only senior on Burnett’s roster.