Volleyball - Lady Mustangs challenged by Lady Eagles in straight-set win
9/13/2018 1:57 PM

McCracken County’s volleyball team made a statement on Tuesday night with its straight-set win over Graves County, continuing its stretch of undefeated play against First Region opponents – dating back to the school’s consolidation six years ago.

“There’s been some talk going around that we were not the best McCracken team this year and everything,” said Gracie Murt, who had seven kills and three aces, including the game-ending serve. “We just proved tonight that we’re just as good as the other teams.”

Makenzie Mason, who like Murt was one of McCracken’s x-factors before the season began, made her mark with 11 kills. She swung freely all night, creating opportunities for McCracken’s offense.

“I think we’re playing really well,” Mason said. “One of our main goals was just to get the speed of the game up. I think we did that really well today. Our main goal is to play as fast as we can, because that’s when we play the best. We knew that they were a pretty good team and we had to come out and play the best that we could.”

Despite the “statement” win, there’s still work for the Lady Mustangs (10-7) to do if they want to make a return trip to the Final Four and beyond – perhaps to the school’s first state final match.

“We still have a lot of improvement to go, but we’re definitely getting somewhere,” Murt said.

For Whitis, the play of Murt and Mason has been good to see.

“Kenzie, she’s just an athlete,” he said. “She’s amazing. Club-wise, she plays outside (hitter) and I’m needing her (this season) on the right side and she just comes in and she’s like, ‘I just want to play.’ For her to be able to do that, she jumps, she’s got a block (and) she can put up a pretty good-sized block for us.

“Gracie Murt, she’s playing really hard. Ever since day one of this year, she’s come into the season and that slide’s been working really good for her. She can swing across and (straight) line on that. That’s pretty tough to be able to deal with swinging both of those. I’ve been really, really pleased with Gracie.”

Graves County coach Bret Cariveau was happy with how the Lady Eagles progressively improved against McCracken.

“We scored more points every set, we scored more points than anyone in the region has against them and they never played their JV,” he said. “Every other team they’ve played against, they’ve played one or two sets, and typically he puts his JV (in the third). He didn’t put his JV in. That’s a huge accomplishment for us.”

Cariveau said his squad has also exceeded expectations in his first year at the helm.

“We are much further along than I expected us to be,” Cariveau said. “We’ve had a very, very good season. They (McCracken) are by far the best team we’ve played this year. We’ve played very well against teams from eastern Kentucky that are top-25 teams. We beat (Christian Academy of Louisville), which is No. 22 in the state. We played with Central Hardin and a team from Alabama (Sparkman). We’re doing very, very well. At the end of the season, I’d like to be able to push (McCracken) harder than we did tonight.”

Audrey Dowdy had eight kills and two blocks, while Taylor Courtney had 17 assists for the Lady Eagles (16-3).

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