PARIS — You won’t convince anyone associated with Great Crossing volleyball that the joke of the week will ever get old.
“Best start in program history, right?” GC coach Adam Ivetic asked Tuesday, after the Warhawks extended their inaugural winning streak to four matches with a straight-sets win at Bourbon County.
There was symmetry in the final score of 25-13, 25-20, 25-13.
Great Crossing never was in any danger, but a brief slip-up late in the second game was a reminder that the team with only one senior is still growing and learning to believe it’s on the verge of being a power in the 11th Region.
“Even when we’re this far ahead, people are getting down, and I’m just trying to stay positive and get my mindset right to push us to do better,” junior outside hitter Reagan McLean said. “When they’re scrappy and stuff, that can mess us up, too, so we still have to push hard so we don’t play down to their level.”
Alora Wilson’s kill put GC in position to win the middle stanza on a serve into the net after Bourbon County (3-4) fought off three consecutive set points.
Back-to-back spikes by McLean put the Warhawks in command, 22-14, prior to the modest Colonel comeback.
“Defense is such a standard, such a point of emphasis in every gym around here, that it’s so hard to earn points,” Ivetic said. “It can be really frustrating, and we kind of ran into that in the second set. “
Great Crossing simply had too much size and firepower around the net for Bourbon County.
McLean, Jasmine Koonce, Grace Brooker, Ryann Thomas, Annie Pearson and Wilson rarely found hands in their way when they went vertical.
“We’ve had a lot of opportunities to battle. We’ve seen a lot of teams’ best efforts,” Ivetic said. “We’re blessed with some height that you don’t see a lot. It’s hard to match up with that.”
McLean got GC started by winning three straight points with offerings from the back line. Koonce built upon that lead with a block, followed by a soft touch on the next point, to make it a 7-3 advantage.
After Bourbon crept back within two, McLean, Wilson and Brooker combined for five straight points at net.
Thomas and Brooker provided key smashes during a run of seven unanswered points on senior libero Taylor Carwile’s serve later in the set.
Great Crossing is slowly seeing its sport become a marquee event at the new school. Thanks to weather postponements earlier in the evening, a dozen boys’ soccer players made the trip across the county line to support the Warhawks.
“I think we want it,” McLean said. “The whole school is kind of coming at us saying volleyball isn’t that important, so we want to show everybody who we are and prove our point.”
Business picks up Thursday night when GC hosts Henry Clay, the No. 5 team in the state.
A “white-out” theme will include T-shirts to the first 50 fans. Student tickets will be only $3.
“We’re going to try to pack the place and give them a run for their money,” Ivetic said. “That’s the gold standard in the 11th Region. If you want to go to state, it goes through Henry Clay and Dunbar.”
McLean sees a window of opportunity for the Warhawks.
“I definitely think we can beat them, because we had (Bluegrass State Games) where we beat Male, and they played Male in that same tournament, and Male beat them,” she said.
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.