By Chris Parsons
TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
North Laurel head coach Haley Ratliff stopped short of calling Thursday’s victory over Corbin a signature win, but she admitted it was the kind of win that could catapult her team to the level she wants it to be.
North Laurel knocked off the defending 13th Region champion Lady Redhounds on their home floor in a 3-2 (25-22, 25-23, 25-17, 25-16 and 15-10) marathon that could’ve went either way in the fifth and final game.
Ratliff said both teams had to battle throughout the match, but she was proud of the way her squad toughed it out mentally after nearly letting a 2-0 lead slip away.
“We did a good job of hanging in there and being tough mentally,” Ratliff said. “We know Corbin is a really good squad and we knew they would battle back and make a match out of it, even after we won the first two.
“This is a really big win for our program and it’s the kind of win we’ve been looking for when it comes to momentum,” she added. “We’re getting better and this is the kind of win that can take us to the next level.”
On the losing side of things, Corbin coach Liberty Roberts said she was not only disappointed with the number of mistakes her team made throughout the match, but the fact that the same mistakes are being made over and over again. She did say she was proud of the way her team battled back, but admitted it wasn’t good enough in the end.
“I was really just disappointed in the fact that we did fight so hard to come back, but we were so mentally unfocused from the first set on,” Roberts said. “It just gets to the point where you have the same mistake being made game after game and sometimes you can get away with. Tonight we couldn’t get a way with against a team like North Laurel.
“They (North Laurel) really hustled and their girls were all over the place all night,” she added. “They played harder than we did when all was said and done and that was the difference in the match.”
North Laurel used 25-22 and 25-23 wins to jump ahead 2-0 in the early going, but Corbin wasn’t about to lay down as they battled back with wins of 25-17 and 25-16 to even things up at two games apiece.
The Lady Jaguars jumped ahead early in the fifth game and never looked back as they pulled out the 15-10 win to seal the match.
Both teams will be back in action Tuesday when the Lady Jaguars host South laurel and Corbin hosts Whitley County.