LADY BOMBERS RELISH ROLE AS FAVORITE
That big red target this year is squarely pointing at the Ballard Memorial Lady Bomber volleyball team. The defending All A Regional Champions know that they will be the team other schools in the area will be shooting for, but that really does not seem to bother them. “Bring it,” says senior Taylor Foster as she added, “We will have to give everyone our best game. Everyone is going to look at us.” Coach Adam Solomon added to that, “We will get everyone’s best game and we cannot take an off night.”
If they do not repeat as All A regional champs, Coach Adam Solomon says it will be a vast disappointment for him and this team. The other goals Coach Solomon said for this team are to, “Win district, be back in the overall regional tournament championship game, and win it. The fourth goal is to go undefeated at home.” All are realistic goals, and the teams to challenge the Bombers in the region will be Murray and CCA in the All A, Graves County in the district, and McCracken County in the overall region.
“I am looking forward to the year, the core is back and the chemistry is great,” said Solomon. Part of that core is the second senior on the team Maggie Denton. She says, “We have a strong group of girls and I think we can keep the winning tradition going.” The Bombers head into the season with four consecutive years of 20 plus victories, and the two seniors of Denton and Foster want to make that five straight seasons as they conclude their Lady Bomber career.
A couple of juniors return as well as part of that core group Solomon referred to, and they know hard work is part of what has led to that winning tradition this program has started. Setter Jade Tilford says, “We just have to make sure we’re working hard at practice, we’re working on our defense, and keeping our serves in. “The team must continue to play with confidence. That is something Elizabeth Goodin is trying to achieve and also instill into some of the younger players. “Improve on staying more positive and keeping the team together. It has to be confidence because if you do not have confidence in yourself, you’re not able to perform at the right time.”
The Lady Bombers recently competed in the Bluegrass State Games and finished gold in their flight of competition, a first for Ballard Memorial. They finished with a 5-3 record with wins over Murray, Fern Creek, Harrison, South Laurel, and then defeated Clark County in the championship.
The Lady Bombers get their regular season started on August 23rd and 24th as they travel to Owensboro to compete in the Apollo Slamdown. The volleyball All A is on Saturday, September 7th and their first home game will be on September 9th against district foe Mayfield.
The core group said they need to play one game at a time and they know there will be challenges they will face throughout the season. However, this group has helped build this winning tradition and they know how overcome those obstacles. Foster summed it up best saying, “We can comeback from anything. We’ve shown that and over the past few years we have improved. It’ hard and it’s going to be hard.” No one said it was going to be easy, and this group knows what it takes to get back to the All A state tournament. They appear to be ready for the challenge. Then after making a run at the All A, their next sight will be set on the overall regional and state tournaments. The new consolidated McCracken County team will be heavy favorites, but the Bombers like their chances as long as they can make it back to the regional championship game.
Coach Solomon says, “Last year was our break thru year,” as he added, “We’ve got to continue getting better on the defensive side. I need our seniors to set the tone by staying positive, encourage everyone, and be leaders on and off the court.”
The Lady Bombers will be favorites to repeat in the All A, but how far they go will depend on the defensive side of the ball, and not committing unforced errors. If they can limit the unforced errors, get their serves in, and make the other team make plays, then they may be able to make a statement in Louisville in the All A state tournament, as well as make some noise in the overall regional and state tournaments. More to come as the season progresses for the Lady Bombers run to state.