LEXINGTON — Rob Terrill knows his team accomplished a great deal this season despite the 3-set loss to powerhouse Gilmour Academy here Thursday night.
“I’m really proud of our girls. I thought they fought hard tonight,” Terrill said after falling 25-21, 25-19, 25-20 in the Division II regional semi-finals.
This marks the fifth time in the past nine years, the Lady Scots have gotten this far.
“The senior class obviously several of them were with us from their freshman year on up and on the state finals team two years ago.”
They won 93 games in four years, with four undefeated league championships, four district title games and two regional appearances.
“It’s a great legacy they left behind … how hard they worked,” Terrill said.
Highland started hot, taking leads of 3-0, 9-6 and 17-15 in the first set that included 7 ties.
A 6-0 run by Gilmour Academy resulted in the first set win. They were led by seniors Kathryn Randorf and Sabrina Gremm.
Gilmour had 12 aces with Randorf registering 21 kills, 4 blocks and 4 aces. Gremm added 8 kills and Anna Rarick 5 kills.
“Those two hitters should be first team all-state,” Terrill said.
Gilmour head coach Dan Coughlin said his team played well, relying on its two standouts.
“Kathryn is one of the best players in the state and you always have a chance when you have a player like that. Sabrina is a fantastic player. We have a lot of returning kids from last year’s run,” he said.
The second set was back and forth with the score tied at 5 before Gilmour built leads of 16-11 and 20-15 and eventually winning it by 6 points.
“Two of the three sets we’re holding the lead late in the sets. Even that second set we were within three. You lose by 5 or 6 points, that’s 2 or 3 plays and they just have the experience of finishing those out,” Terrill said.
In the third set the two teams exchanged points tied at 10 and again at 12 after an Ashlynn Belcher block. There were 8 ties including the Lancers getting 3 straight to make it 19-19 after the Scots took a 19-16 lead.
But Gilmour Academy finished it off with a 6-1 run to win and advance to play Vermilion which topped Elida in the other regional semi-final contest.
Terrill said his team kept its composure despite trailing.
“After we went down 0-2 we talked about being aggressive and maintaining that serving wise and swinging wise. We got to a regional and we weren’t going to back off now. They were in a good mood and kept fighting.”
Kendall Stover had 19 kills, Kameron Stover 5, Belcher 2 aces and 2 blocks.
Highland had 4 stuff blocks and Gilmour 5. Gilmour held the edge in aces 12-3.
Highland (22-6) plays a difficult schedule and it paid off, Terrill said.
“Watkins Memorial’s middle was very awesome and Hartley too. We’ve got players like that who play on a national level. That’s why Kendall’s digging up balls and Ashylnn’s digging up balls and we’re attacking the same way. They just got a few more than we do.”
Highland will return several players next year, including starters sophomore Zoya Winkelfoos and juniors Brooke Schott and Alexis Eusey.
“We have two freshmen up. Our freshmen were undefeated this year and our jayvee lost only 5 or 6 games,” Terrill said.
“I told them they can be sad that they lost, but you can’t be sad about where they were at when they did that. I just want them to enjoy that they were here, and that they fought all the way through.”