Familiar Foes: Greenwood and South Warren earn trips back to region title
FRANKLIN — It’s 4th Region Championship time, and Greenwood and South Warren have somewhere to be.
That somewhere is Louisville Valley, host of the KHSAA State Volleyball Tournament.
However, who goes will have to be determined when the Lady Gators and Lady Spartans meet for the fifth straight season in the 4th Region Volleyball Championship match on Thursday evening at Franklin-Simpson.
The Lady Spartans have a 3-1 all-time lead over Greenwood in region title matches since their inception in 2010, but the Lady Gators have a lot to ride on going into Thursday’s contest.
On Wednesday evening, Greenwood (34-5) cruised past Clinton County in a 3-0 sweep (25-7, 25-9, 25-15) to advance to their fifth-straight berth in the region title match.
The Lady Gators were basically unstoppable from the get-go, opening up the match with a 9-1 lead that quickly blew open to a 21-6 first-set lead.
“I watched Clinton [County] play the other night and they played very well. They were hustling for balls,” Greenwood head coach Allen Whittingham said. “We were able to control the ball on our side and cause them some trouble. I thought our offense clicked a lot better tonight and we got the ball where we needed to.”
- VIDEO: Greenwood head coach Allen Whittingham and select players
- VIDEO: Clinton County head coach Kayla Mora and select players
- VIDEO: Logan County head coach Steven Lyne and select players
- VIDEO: South Warren head coach Justin Griffin and select players (Part 1)(Part 2)
- 4th Region Volleyball Tournament Semifinals Photo Package
Greenwood faced minimal challenge getting the job done in the second and third sets, which came as no surprise to Lady Bulldog head coach Kayla Mora.
“[Greenwood] is a very quick team,” Mora said. “They speed up the ball. They have a very quick serve going right over the net. I told the girls that it was going to be a faster paced game.”
South Warren’s road to their sixth-straight region title berth came as more of a challenge, as the Lady Spartans were tested throughout a four-set victory (25-14, 21-25, 25-18, 25-22) over Logan County, who was fresh off of their 16th straight 13th Region championship.
After taking the first set 25-14, it seemed as though South Warren (24-10) would have an easy ride. However, the Lady Cougars had different ideas.
Seeking to reach their first region title match since 2013, Logan County used a 9-3 run to take the second set over the defending region champions, 25-21, knotting the match up at 1-1.
“Every time we play Logan County, it’s such a battle,” South Warren coach Justin Griffin said. “We knew coming in that it wasn’t going to be easy. We played well in some spurts, but we also let some points get away from us.”
The Lady Spartans got a little more breathing room when they took the third set, 25-18, to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
However, the Lady Cougars melted away a 19-13 fourth-set deficit to trail 22-20, but red-hot South Warren proved too much.
“I thought our girls really stepped up and played some good ball tonight,” Logan County head coach Steven Lyne said. “They brought some intensity, and you can’t ask for any more than that. Hats off to South Warren; they fight. You have to keep in the fight to try to beat them.”
Same old song and dance
So here we are… again.
Greenwood and South Warren will play a highly anticipated match for 4th Region bragging rights when they meet at Franklin-Simpson on Thursday evening at 6:30 pm CT.
Leading up to the match-up, Greenwood has won all three meetings between the two teams this season, a pair of sweeps in the regular season and a 3-1 win over the Lady Spartans in last week’s 14th District Championship.
“Tomorrow night is going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be worth the price to get in here,” Whittingham said. “Last week was a battle, and it’s like that every time we step on the court with each other.”
The two teams are in the same boat as last season, barring Thursday evening’s outcome. Greenwood swept the two regular season meetings against South Warren in 2017 and won the 14th District title, only to see the Lady Spartans snatch the 4th Region title and a trip to Louisville from the Lady Gators’ hands.
“We know it’s going to be a battle,” Griffin said. “It seems like every year always is. They’re a super talented team, and we have to make sure that we come out and play our A-game. Hopefully [Wednesday’s win over Logan County] was a good challenge for us and will get us ready for it.”
The winner of Thursday evening’s contest will go on to play the winner of the Region 16 championship between Boyd County and Rowan County in the first round of the KHSAA Volleyball State Tournament next Friday at Valley Traditional High School in Louisville.
Clay Manlove; @ctmanlove58