THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
PAINTSVILLE Russell lost twice on Saturday to end its perfect start to the season in the Pops Chevy Summer Slam hosted by Paintsville.
The Lady Devils were 2-2. Their two victories came in pool play over East Carter, 2-1 (13-25, 25-23, 25-9) and Shelby Valley, 2-1 (25-12, 23-25, 25-17).
Russell then fell to Pikeville, 2-1 (24-26, 2519, 25-20) in a tightly contested match for first place in their pool. The Lady Panthers scored the first seven points in the third set and took a 15-5 lead before the Lady Devils’ Grace Satterwhite served for nine consecutive points, including five aces, to get Russell back within a point.
Pikeville’s outside hitting closed out the set and the match, though, sending Russell to the second seed from its pool and a meeting with defending 15th Region Tournament champion Paintsville in the first round of the Platinum elimination tournament.
The Lady Tigers prevailed, 2-0 (25-16, 25-8), behind Meg Taylor’s offensive onslaught.
Russell’s McKenna Barfield collected 11 blocks in the match.
Pikeville went on to win the tournament, knocking off Paintsville in the finals, 2-1 (2521, 10-25, 26-24).
The Lady Panthers improved to 13-1. The Lady Tigers are 12-2.
Satterwhite collected 20 kills on the day.
Kate Ruggles delivered 12 and Sadie Hill had nine.
Barfield had 24 blocks in the four matches.
Ruggles added 11 and Hill had six.
Satterwhite served for eight aces, Rachel Saunders produced six and Hill netted five.
“This was the kind of competition we needed to face to get better,” Russell coach Tiffany Perry said. “The level of play at this tournament was akin to a playoff set of opponents.
“We needed this reminder about how hard it is to beat good teams and how we need to do the right things in practice, school and at home every day as teammates and coaches to keep improving as a team. We need to play at a high level every time we play, no excuses.”