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The SCHS girls’ volleyball team had been on tear until Nelson County visited Tuesday.
The Lady Cardinals dominated the first game and held off Shelby in the second game for a 2-0 (25-17, 25-22) victory.
The Lady Rockets pulled to 10-7 and made it close again at 16-14 before Nelson pulled away in that first game.
“Nelson County is a tough team that plays very good defense,” SCHS Coach Felicia Pace said. “We can’t come out with such a slow opening.”
The two teams battled through a very tight second game, and the Lady Rockets tied the score at 19 on Keyshia Patterson's ace and again at 21 on Leann Armstrong's kill, but the Lady Cardinals pulled out the victory.
The Lady Rockets had won five in a row and 10 of their past 11 before Nelson County, and one of those may have actually hurt the Lady Rockets.
After the girls beat Eminence, 2-0, (25-10, 25-7) on Monday, the Lady Rockets had a hard time containing Nelson County’s faster tempo.
“It was a big change of pace,” Pace said. “After Monday, that’s a huge adjustment, and we just didn’t make it fast enough. Sometimes it takes a few plays to get used to that big change in speed, and unfortunately it took us most of the first game to adjust.”
Patterson said she thinks the Lady Rockets will be fine.
“It was a slow start, and we could’ve played better, but we were OK,” she said. “I think it was more of a hiccup.”
Pace agreed, noting the Lady Rockets approach to losing.
“I’m not too upset,” she said. “Of course I wanted the win, but we’re learning from our loses, and that’s an important thing.”
And even though they lost Tuesday, it was Monday’s victory that really mattered.
“That solidified our top spot in the district, so that was the one we needed,” Pace said. “Now we can focus on fine-tuning things for the district and region over the final few games we have.”
Despite the loss, the night was still big for Patterson.
Before the game Shelby County Public Schools Community Relations Coordinator Duanne Puckett presented Patterson with a collection of her newspaper clippings. Patterson had lost her clippings earlier this month when her house was destroyed by fire.
“I was really surprised,” she said.
Puckett, who helped coordinate the new collection, said she and SCPS receptionist Denise Harris were looking for a way to help after seeing the story of Patterson’s house burning down.
“The school board is always looking for ways to showcase students’ accomplishments,” she said. “We are spotlighting Keyshia because she has continued to put her heart and soul into the game as volleyball captain even though her family lost their home to a fire recently.
“She is an inspiration to all of us for showing that you must continue to work hard at your goals even when life turns upside down.”
Patterson said she already knows what to do with the new clips: “I’ll put them back in frames like the old ones.”