By Beth Cox
The district conference tournament started Monday night at Sullivan Central High School. After being easily defeated by the Lady Cougars, the Lady Longhorns walked to the net to congratulate their opponents on their win and advancement in the District 1-AA tournament.
With heartbreak, regret, and sorrow, the Lady Longhorns ended the season left only with ideas of what could have been.
The Lady Horns knew they would have to play some good volleyball if they wanted to defeat the district’s number two team. Unfortunately, Johnson County struggled from the very beginning and lost momentum with each game.
The first game of the match, the Lady Horns lost 25-14. The second set, Johnson County and Central were neck and neck with the score tied at one point, 7-7, but Central’s junior Meredith Mumpower served up several hard and strategic serves that led to a significant lead for the Lady Cougars.
Johnson County appeared to be sleeping at the net, so defense was left to the backcourt. Rhiannon Icenhour would take the punch for the back row with twelve digs against Central. Hannah Brooks and Taylor Cox also contributed with seven and six digs, respectively.
To their credit, Emily Garr and Sydney Souder have been phenomenal at the net defensively, but they could not get those needed blocks against Central.
The Lady Horns seemed to struggle with their offensive game as well. With Cox getting four assists followed by Cassidy Lakatos with three assists, Garr was the only player to get a hit past the Lady Cougars. The service line for Johnson County showed many errors with only two aces for the evening, one by Emily Garr and one by Abby Cornett. Johnson County knew they were going into district tournament action as the underdog and would have to fight for every point, but it appeared the desire was not there. After the second set, the Lady Longhorns played like a team that had already been defeated and, it showed, as the third set ended with a 5-25 loss.
Senior Abby Cornett felt the frustration throughout the match, “we just didn’t play as a team. Central was trying to give us the game, but we could never capitalize on that because we weren’t mentally focused or ready to play or even win.” Taylor Cox expressed her feelings about how her volleyball journey ended, “we could have played better. We just didn’t play as a team, and it’s sad to me because it ends my high school career with some of my closest friends.” She added, “I’m going to miss playing. We had a lot of fun and had some great coaches.”