Caldwell County’s plan was to keep it away from her.
In the end, Trigg’s method of attacking won as the Lady Wildcats claimed their first-ever district title with a 25-22, 25-14, 24-15 win in the championship game of the Seventh District Volleyball Tournament Oct. 11 at Wildcat Gym.
The junior hitter had four straight kills to open up a slight advantage in the deciding game and finished off Trigg’s final two points for the match victory.
While Caldwell tried keeping their volleys away from Hampton, other players contributed on defense to, at times, alter the Lady Tiger attack.
“Our game plan was for Kalesha (Williams), Stacy (Schoneman), and Molly (Thompson) to take over. We knew Caldwell would be trying to keep the ball away from Cayla, but she decided she wanted to win that match,” Lady Wildcat head coach Rick Erickson said.
The third game was tied early at 1, 2, and 3 before four straight points by Hampton opened a 7-4 Trigg lead.
Trigg led 11-6 before Caldwell outscored Trigg 6-2 to cut the lead to 13-12.
With a favorable rotation that saw Hampton return to the front and Casey Banister feeding her passes at the net, Hampton again responded with a pair of kills to extend the lead to 19-14.
“We were very fortunate for that rotation to come around the way it did. It got her to the front at a good time,” Erickson said.
After a Caldwell winner, Trigg County scored the final six points of the game to claim the match.
Hampton finished with two blocks and 16 kills for the match – nine in the final game.
Banister had 19 assists on the night to go with two kills, while Thompson was string at the net with seven blocks.
Schoneman added five kills, Williams had nine, and Kasta Rea came off the bench to chip in four blocks at the net.
“This was a total team effort tonight,” said Erickson.
While Caldwell’s focus was on keeping the ball away from Hampton, Trigg County had a similar plan for Caldwell in wanting to keep their volleys away from All-District hitter Ali Stone.
“We tried to take Ali out of their offense by attacking the back left and keeping it away from their outside hitter,” Erickson said.
While the plan worked for the most part in games one and three, it was Stone who helped stake Caldwell to a 5-1 lead and was prominent in a 9-2 run that put the Lady Tigers up 22-11 on their way to a 25-14 win.
In the first game, Banister broke a 17-all tie with a placement kill in the corner that helped the Lady Wildcats pull away slightly and later claim a 25-22 win.
“We got some breaks in that first game, and the girls learned they could stay with them,” Erickson said.
Trigg’s service game was strong, with 56-of-63 serves finding their way over the net for an 88.8-percent success rate.
Caldwell County’s was slightly higher at 96-percent.
Trigg County’s win upped their season record to 18-15 and came two weeks after Caldwell County beat them 25-19, 25-17 in Princeton.
“That loss refocused them 100-percent. I wasn’t upset that we lost. It may have been for the best,” Erickson said.
Caldwell County fell to 16-14 with the loss.
Trigg County had four players named to the All-District team. They were Casey Banister, Kalesha Williams, Cayla Hampton, and Stacy Schoneman.
They were joined on the team by Allyson Rowland and Candace Kitchens from Livingston Central, Stephanie Harris and Darrah Easley from Crittenden County, and Rebecca Hatler, Meryl Williams, and Ali Stone from Caldwell County.
Both Trigg County and Caldwell County advanced to the Second Region Tournament this week at Wildcat Gym in Cadiz. Trigg County was scheduled to play Tuesday night. The championship game is set for Thursday.