Title game

Trimble County’s Aubree Craig (9) and Bailyn Clifford (43) go up for a block of Eminence’s Angela Fultz (3) during the 31st District Championship game on Wednesday.

OWENTON, Ky. — Eminence’s powerful hitting proved to be the difference as the Warriors rolled over Trimble County in three sets to win the 31st District Volleyball Championship Wednesday at Owen County High School.

Eminence’s Megan Sweeney dominated the net all night, hammering 21 kills over the three sets as the Warriors picked up the 25-17, 25-13, 25-17 victory. But Sweeney wasn’t the only Eminence hitter who had success as frontline mate Abby Ruzanka added 11 kills of their own.

Trimble coach Shawna Jent knew what her team was up against with the Warriors and was pleased with the way her players responded.

“I wanted that same fire that we had last night. They came in a little hesitant just because they know the level they’re playing against,” Jent said. “It’s kind of hard, but you know, they gave me all they had. That’s all we could do and that’s all we could ask for and we know now what to work on and offseason for next year so that’s our focus.”

Trimble County (12-15) had defeated Owen County in the semifinals the night before to clinch its first-ever trip to the Eighth Region Tournament and was hoping to add a district title to that resumé.

Despite the nerves, the Raiders hung tough in the first set, leading 13-11 at one point and even after a long Eminence run, trailed only 17-14. But the Warriors took over from that point and rolled to the win.

Sweeney opened the second set with four-straight kills and Eminence (19-6) jumped out to an 8-1 lead before rolling to the victory. Trimble regrouped in the third, leading 3-1 early and was within 13-11 before the Warriors closed out the win.

Sweeney and Ruzanka, who were joined on the all-district team by teammates Julia Dentinger and Jenna Carter, were simply too much for the Raiders to handle. Every time Trimble got close, the Warriors stopped their run.

“Sweeney is a power hitter. She also places her hit wherever we’re not at,” Jent said. “She also hits all over the floor and they have a really good setter; their sets are really short and really tight so it’s really hard to have time to read that offense. We struggled all season long with short setters so we’re going to definitely work on that in the offseason. But I’m super proud of how far they’ve progressed in the last two years.”

Trimble missed only two serves on the night with Gracie Jent going 15-for-15 and Jenna Craig 10-for-11 with three aces. Bailyn Clifford had four kills for the Raiders while Aubree Craig had three kills.

While the Raiders were disappointed with the loss, they couldn’t help but reflect on how far they have come in two seasons, from a team that struggled to win any matches to one that reached the district championship.

“When my seniors were freshmen and sophomores, they won one game each season. We’re at that .500 mark right there and that’s what we want to keep seeing,” Jent said. “This is a big step to be able to reach this far and to bring home a trophy for that trophy case is really exciting. That’s going in our locker room all year to look at all off-season for them to remember why they’re doing what they’re doing because we want the gold trophy next year, not the silver.”

Aubree Craig, Jenna Craig and Clifford were all named to the all-district team. Joining them were: Kylie Dermon, Carroll County. Hallie Russell, Gallatin County, Claire Ramsey and Morgan Brent, Henry County; and Maggie Ponder and Makayla Boothe, Owen County.

Trimble County will face Simon Kenton in the quarterfinals of the Eighth Region Tournament on Tuesday. All games in the tournament will be played at Eminence.