The Mason County volleyball team has now taken both matches played against Augusta this fall.
But they’ll have one more meeting in October, when things really matter.
Mason County got momentum from Meya Myrick in the second meeting on Thursday to top Augusta, 2-0 (25-14, 25-13), giving themselves confidence entering a 39th District semifinal matchup with the Lady Panthers on Oct. 8.
“It’s great because the girls knew today set the tone for districts. They knew what to expect out of this,” said Mason County coach Shelby Hesler. “They wanted to win more than anything.”
Augusta claimed the first set they played against Mason County this season, but has dropped four since to fall to 0-2 this season against the Lady Royals. Still, that set is enough for coach Roy Machen and the Lady Panthers to continue to push for a spot in the Oct. 10 championship game, where they’ll face the winner of the first semifinal between St. Patrick and Bracken County.
“We’ve got to clean up communication. That’s one of the main things. I know it’s been said by other coaches and I kind of agree with it, but the 39th District – it could be anybody’s game or anybody’s night, it just depends on who wants it more and who shows up to play. I believe we have just as good a shot as everybody else,” said Machen. “I tried to tell the girls, ‘You can get beat by a team nine out of 10 times, but all you need is that one night.’”
The Lady Panthers kept it close at the beginning of the first set and even took a 6-4 lead before Myrick got going. Two of the next three points came from Myrick kills, putting the Lady Royals back on top, before kills from Kylee Harper and Alexis Shields gave Augusta a one-point advantage.
“I thought the serves, for the most part, were decent, but the movement and attacking – the attacking wasn’t too bad,” said Machen. “We had some attacks, but we have to communicate and be ready to move.”
But Myrick evened the score again with a big kill along the left side of the net that turned the momentum. Mason County continued on a 9-0 run, which included three aces from the junior, for a 16-8 lead.
“Meya was on fire, and at one point I told her, ‘If I had a crown to give you, I would,’” said Hesler.
“It was that energy level honestly,” added Hesler. “Her consistency helped them take off, but then it filtered to all the other girls and all the other girls started getting excited for small things and it was the small moments that really did it.”
The Lady Royals maintained the lead and closed out the set on a 7-1 run, capped off by a kill from Myrick.
Mason County continued to roll in the second set, jumping out to a 5-1 lead before extending the lead to eight points at 12-4 with an ace from Erin Hasler, forcing Machen to call a timeout.
The Lady Royals kept the Lady Panthers from a comeback, closing out the second and final set on an 8-2 run. Hasler ended the match on a serve that Augusta was unable to return.
Mason County improves to 5-22 with the win. They’ve got three more regular season matches – against Robertson County, Bracken County and Nicholas County – before the third meeting with the Lady Panthers. The Lady Royals return to action on Monday when they host the Lady Devils in a 7 p.m. match.
Augusta falls to 3-15 with the loss. They have five more regular season matches before kicking off postseason play. The Lady Panthers start that stretch on Saturday when they host Danville Christian at 5 p.m.
“Even in defeat, you see small victories and you see them from individuals. I told the girls in there, ‘We see them one more time and we have one more week to fix it. We’ve got to start talking and communicating,’” said Machen. “That’s something we’re going to be focused on for the next week.”
LADY ROYALS DEF. LADY PANTHERS, 2-0 (25-14, 25-13)
Aces: Augusta 3 (Arthur, Browning, Shields 1), Mason County 13 (Cooper 4)
Kills: Augusta 8 (Harper, Shields, Arthur 2), Mason County 11 (Myrick 5)
Service Errors: Augusta 9, Mason County 9
Errors: Augusta 17, Mason County 7
Records: Augusta 3-15, Mason County 5-22