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Volleyball wins in five sets
Photo courtesy of Painted Barn Media Jaelin Stovall shows maximum effort while making a play against Franklin County Tuesday. The Lady Pioneers improved to 9-15 with the five-set win.
Photo courtesy of Painted Barn Media Ally Beneke's serving helped the Lady Pioneers defeat Franklin County in five sets.

Just when Warren County looked like it was in the midst of another collapse, the Lady Pioneers found some fire and got smoking hot.

Led by huge serves from Jessie Young and Ally Beneke late and big hit from an unlikely source, Warren County was able to finish off Franklin County in five sets Tuesday. The Lady Pioneers won the final set 15-5 to decide the match after taking the second and third sets 25-19 and 25-20.

Warren County (9-15) had a chance to put the game away in the fourth set, building a 20-15 lead and all the momentum. The lead, like it has in many losses this year, slipped away late, giving the Rebelettes new life going into the deciding set.

In the moments before the teams returned to the court to fight for a win, coach Erin Blalock gathered her team and delivered a simple message.

“Our focus between the sets was just to refocus. We wanted to be the first to five points, then 10 and then 15,” said Blalock. “We should’ve won the fourth set, but we’ve been working on not getting down on ourselves in those moments. We had to take the final set for what it was and finish.”

Young helped ease the pressure by getting on a roll at the service line. The star senior had a pair of aces while Allyson Blalock and Beneke each had key blocks during a 5-0 start. For Young, the aces weren’t the goal, but were a nice addition in a clutch moment.

“I just wanted to get the ball in play,” said Young. “I was pretty confident and was trying to make sure we could keep the game going. It was good to see us regroup quick and I’m really proud of my teammates.

“It’s what we needed as we get ready for the postseason.”

Just when Franklin County thought it might get back into the match by swapping points for four serves, Kennedi Pegg came through with a clutch kill to end the threat. The junior, who is usually responsible for setting up hitters, took a huge swing from the back row that caught the Rebelettes off guard. Pegg’s big point had the crowd going wild and the team’s setter thinking about a new position.

“I think she wants to play middle now,” joked Blalock after Pegg’s key swing. “It was a good attack for sure.”

Beneke closed out the win with another run of solid serving for the Lady Pioneers in a clutch moment. It came just a night after coach Blalock had to have her team hit underhanded serves due to errant shots in a loss to Stone Memorial. It was refreshing to see the serves, which have been a weapon at times this year, be so effective when they were needed most.

“We know that they can perform. That’s why it’s frustrating when they make some silly mistakes. They just have to have the confidence to do it. Jessie was big, then Ally was big there at the end,” said Blalock. “We just have to make sure we stay focused. We play good volleyball every time we play, but we have to stay focused on finishing. This should help us as we go down the stretch.”