Knox Central’s up front duo of Tyra McNeil and Kelsey Engle held their own against Middlesboro’s Carissa Padgett and Anajae Stephney and the Lady Panthers got a strong service match from Ashley Jones and Sadie Harries Thursday in a 25-18, 25-13, 25-14 win over the Lady Jackets.
Stephney led Middlesboro with eight kills while Padgett added seven kills and a couple of blocks for points. Senior Lauren Schneider chipped in with four kills along with several assists for the Lady Jackets.
The first set was tight early on, but Knox took control behind seven straight service points from Jones to build an 18-9 lead.
Middlesboro fought back as Stephney had a pair of kills and Adreana Lefevers added three service points, but 22-16 was as close as they could get and the Lady Panthers took the set 25-18.
The second set saw the Lady Jackets get off to a good start. Kills by Padgett and Stephney made the score 3-2 and Candice Bruce reeled off five straight service points. Schneider had a set kill during the run and Stephney added a soft tap at the net for a point as MHS went up 7-3.
It was 8-5 when Harris came on to serve for Knox Central and the young Lady Jackets again struggled to return the serve. Middlesboro hit two balls into the net, then after a long rally an MHS spike sailed long to tie the score. The Lady Jackets returned two more serves into the net, then McNeil delivered a kill for an 11-8 Knox lead. Harris and the Lady Panthers weren’t done as she delivered seven more service points and Central built an 18-8 lead.
Knox went on to take set two 25-13.
A hit into the net followed by three service points from Jones, including an ace, put the Lady Panthers up 4-0 in the third set. A strong kill from Stephney ended that run and Middlesboro worked their way back into the match.
A pair of service points from Brittney Letendre brought the Lady Jackets within 7-5, but Knox began to pull away.
Harris delivered four service points and a kill from McNeil stretched the lead to 15-8.
Stephney sent a hard spike past McNeil and Schneider won a point at the net with Charlesa Witherspoon serving, but 15-10 was as close as the Lady Jackets would get. McNeil and Justice Lacefield had kills and Lacefield added a pair of service points to push the lead back out to 20-12.
Padgett scored a point with a block, but a pair of kills from McNeil put the match away. Harris served out the final four points with a McNeill kill clinching the match with a 25-14 victory in set three.
Middlesboro (0-10) hosts Harlan Monday with the JV match starting at 6 p.m. Knox Central (3-6) plays Corbin Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Lady Colonel First Priority Classic at Whitley County.