It didn’t take long for North Oldham to earn the top seed in the 29th District for the 11th straight season.
One week after sweeping South Oldham, the Lady Mustangs took all three sets at Oldham County (25-20, 25-12, 25-17) on Sept. 20 to secure an automatic bid to the Eighth Region tournament.
The win carried extra meaning for North Oldham after seeing its seven-year region title streak snapped by Simon Kenton in last year’s semifinals. Oldham County went on to beat the Lady Pioneers to win the 2021 tournament for the first time since 2014.
“It means a lot to us, especially with how our season ended last year, losing in regionals and then with Oldham County winning,” NOHS senior Katelyn Vize said. “We really wanted to come in and focus on getting the job done, so I’m glad that we executed.”
Oldham County battled back from an early deficit to tie the first set at 13-all, but a 10-1 Lady Mustang run gave them a healthy lead. The Lady Colonels made a comeback, but the deficit proved to be too large, as North Oldham captured a pivotal first game.
“It was crucial – we really needed that,” North Oldham senior Caroline Rankin said of the strong finish to the opening set. “We needed to play North volleyball, and that wasn’t North volleyball at the start of the set.”
OCHS senior Kylie Green went down with a leg injury early in the second set, and the Lady Colonels seemed rattled in the immediate aftermath. Oldham County struggled receiving serves on a consistent basis, and North Oldham built a healthy lead on its way to a dominant 25-12 set win.
“I think for the first few points afterwards, we were affected. We just have to make sure we decide to play hard the whole match and focus on what we’re doing,” Oldham County coach Ryan Warner said. “On serves, we need to focus on execution and getting that good pass that gives us options.”
The hope is that the injury will be short-term for the senior, who missed all of 2021 with a knee injury on the same leg.
North Oldham controlled the entire third set on its way to a 25-17 win to earn the sweep.
“We had a talk before the game about one thing we could focus on, one thing the team could do better,” Rankin said. “It worked.”
Oldham County will face off against South Oldham in the district semifinals in October with a trip to the region tournament on the line. The Lady Colonels edged the Lady Dragons in five sets at SOHS on Sept. 15. The two teams also met in last year’s district semifinals, when Oldham County pulled out a four-set win.
“We’re not looking past South. We’ve got to give them respect and come out in that district semifinal,” Warner said. “Hopefully we can get past that semifinal, go onto regionals and make another run for it.”
The Lady Mustangs will use their final nine matches of the regular season, beginning with No. 10 DuPont Manual on Sept. 22, to prepare to defend their district crown for the 12th year in a row.
“Manual will be good competition. We’ll have to play our best,” Rankin said. “We’re looking to carry over how we played tonight.”
NORTH OLDHAM 3, OLDHAM COUNTY 0
North Oldham 25 25 25 – 3
Oldham County 20 12 17 – 0