TOUGH NIGHT: Trimble County’s Kelsie Courtney (above, 6) and Kayla Baker (3) attempt to block the hit of North Oldham’s Madison Tinder during Monday’s district opener in Bedford. The Raiders’ Sydney Weaver (below, 7) goes to a knee while digging a hard shot to teammate Baker. North, the 29th District’s top seed, rolled to the win in three easy games. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
TOUGH NIGHT: Trimble County’s Kelsie Courtney (above, 6) and Kayla Baker (3) attempt to block the hit of North Oldham’s Madison Tinder during Monday’s district opener in Bedford. The Raiders’ Sydney Weaver (below, 7) goes to a knee while digging a hard shot to teammate Baker. North, the 29th District’s top seed, rolled to the win in three easy games. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
North Oldham exposed every Trimble County weakness while rolling to a three-set win in the semifinals of the 29th District Tournament Monday in Bedford.

The Mustangs, the top seed in the district and one of the top teams in the region, won all three games going away by scores of 25-15, 25-11, 25-14.

It was a disappointing end to the season for a Trimble team that posted a 21-8 record and beat nearly every team it played outside of Oldham County.

"They're one of the best teams in the state," Trimble coach Ruth Staples said. "I think we gave it our best effort. They're just good ... we just had some players without the experience against this kind of competition. Next year we'll be better."

Trimble County didn't go down without a fight. Junior Paige Black served the Raiders to an early 5-2 lead in game one and Trimble led 8-4 at one point. Even after a North comeback the game was still tied 11-11.

But from that point on the game belonged to the Mustangs. North got the sideout then ripped off a 9-1 run to blow the game open and eventually won by 15.

Game two was a carbon copy of the opener. Black served the Raiders to a 3-0 lead, Trimble still led 5-4 but eventually found itself down 18-6 before North cruised to the 14-point win.

Trimble scored the first point of the third game but was powerless to stop the Mustangs from there. Riding momentum from the first two games, North went ahead 12-4 and led 16-6 and 19-9 before winning 25-14.

The difference in the game was depth. While Black and senior front-liner Kelsie Courtney held their own, the Mustangs won the game by placing six players of equal ability to the Raider stars on the floor at the same time.

"North has eight or nine Kelsie's, Paige's or Kayla Bakers. We just can't compete with that," Staples said.

Courtney in particular had a hard time facing the tall Mustang line but she still finished with 11 kills and eight blocks despite being forced to get creative with her hitting.

"We felt like we could come out here and win but we just weren't in shape I guess," Courtney said. "We played our best and I'm proud of everyone."

"North did a good job of blocking and forcing Kelsie to go a different way," Staples said. "I told Kelsie to just keep hitting, that's what she does. I told them to set her higher and when they started doing that, she started having success. Heck, she can jump over any of those blocks."

The one thing that impressed Staples about North Oldham was the Mustangs' ability to take away every weapon in Trimble's arsenal. On serves, hits or digs, North just covered every aspect of the game.

"They just made a whole lot of good plays," Staples said. "Their serves are hard, their hits are hard and they are just constant. That's why they're so good. Nobody can say North Oldham is not a good volleyball team."

Along with her hitting, Courtney was also 3-for-3 serving. Black was 9-for-9 serving with four aces, five kills and two blocks and was 10-for-11 in reception.

Baker was 3-for-3 serving with an ace, 24-for-24 setting and had six kills, McKenna Ginn was 4-for-4 serving and 37-for-38 setting, Kayla Greenwood was 3-for-3 serving and Sydney Weaver was 4-for-5 serving.

"We only missed one serve which is fantastic," Staples said. "Unfortunately, we just didn't get to serve much."

While North Oldham heads into the championship match on Wednesday against South Oldham, Trimble County heads into the offseason. The Dragons beat Oldham County 25-22, 25-19, 23-25, 16-25, 15-11 in Monday's second semifinal.

The Raiders graduate only Courtney, and Staples is confident that her team will only get better as it improves.

"I called a timeout near the end and I asked the girls if North Oldham was better than they were and each one of them said no," Staples said. "We lost Kelsie and she has been a heck of a player but I have five players coming back and we're still going to be good.

"The key is to keep playing and play club volleyball. Everyone of those girls on North play club and it shows," Staples said. "All of our sophomores are playing and it makes a difference. I know we'll be back."