Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SK Falls in 8th Region Tourney....Letter from Sportsdad to Rach

Dear Rachael:

Dag-gone-it, I feel bad for you little buddy.  I really had a good feeling your team was going to make it happen.  The team was peaking at the right time and we were seeing the team we all expected from the beginning of the season.  I know you hurt tonight but you’ve got a lot to look back and be proud of during your career as a Neer.  I know you gave it your best tonight which should make your walk off the court a little easier.   

I’m proud that you did your own thing by getting out of our family tradition of soccer and basketball and taking up volleyball.  It seems like yesterday when Ellie took you out in the front yard and decided to teach you the game of volleyball.  Although you got cut in that 8th grade year, that really became your first lesson in sports, which was there is disappointment.  You turned that disappointment into a positive by coming back and making the SK JV team as a frosh.  A cool moment.  As you go on to college and your vocation, look back at the lessons your sport taught you.  While sports always come to an end, the lessons of individual hard work, team performance, dedication, conflict, leadership and most importantly what success and failure teach you will be with you for a long time.  

With just a few years under your belt as a player, you always were a good listener to all of your coaches.  You always tried to get better and I still can see you improving. 

I’ll take some great memories from you playing volleyball.  I’m sure a lot of your best memories are the same as mine.  The fun runs at Bluegrass, the set win versus NDA, JV Cake Classic, and maybe some of my favorite memories are in the form of pictures of you and Kelsey on the bench during your sophomore year at the 8th Region Tournament.  Although neither of you got any court time, your enthusiasm and support were awesome, real leadership in my book.   If I’m not mistaken, that’s when you two got your jobs as prematch low and high five.

When the last point flashed up for North Oldham tonight, it was neat how you and Kelsey found each other right away.  While you were smiling on the outside, I know there was a lot of sadness on the inside.  I can’t even think about how many games the two of you have played since U6 ISC Soccer and Upward basketball.  While you two had 100’s of games together and tons of out of town trips, I know your favorite trip has to be our “man trip” that we took to Memphis where Joe and I taught you so many things; flexibility, best places to shop, potato chips for dinner etc. 

While you learned a lot of lessons and discipline from playing ball, when you look back on your playing days, the thing that you’ll take away the most is the fun you had while playing AND the friends you made.  The parents of your friends became our friends.  I’ve got a pretty good feeling that some of these friends will be with you for a while. 

Thanks for taking me along and making me a volleyball dad.  Although I never did learn much about the game, I don’t understand the silly rotations or positions, you were always patient with me when I tried to coach you.  You have to admit my points about jumping high were pretty good ones.  I was kinda sad tonight after watching the last Fig in a Neer uni.  However, it was a fun 12 years and watching you the last 4 was a blast.  Enjoy the rest  of your senior year!


Happy Birthday Schmee!  Wish you coulda got your win.  
Season over but they still found each other for a hug.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Semifinal Eve

Interesting fact:  the 2014 SK Baseball Team finished the regular season with a 17-16 record before they went on an absolute tear winning the 32nd District and 8th Region tourney and eventually winning a state runner-up piece of walnut.

The 2014 Neer volleyball team's record at the end of the regular season?  16-16.  

SK has been on a tear in the Districts and Regionals.  They are definitely playing their best volleyball of the season and hope that this will be the banner year.  They will play North Oldham for the third straight year in the Regional Tournament.  Both matches the previous two years were barn burners with the Neers falling on the short-end.  

Game time tomorrow night is 6:45 at Carroll County High School; just outside of  Carrollton on 227.  Come on down and support this wonderful group of SK athletes!
Class of 15 V-ballers

Monday, October 27, 2014

Neers Head to Semis for 3rd Straight Year!

The Lady Neers headed to Carrollton and Carroll County High School tonight for the opening night of the 8th Region Tourney.  SK’s foe tonight was 30th District Runner-up Anderson County who came into tonight’s action with an impressive 24-7 record.

The teams came out in the first few points with some understandable opening night jitters.  The score was even at 3 in the first set but that was about as close as the Bearcats would get the entire night as SK got their act together and showed that they were clearly the best team in the match.  SK’s demeanor looked very similar to the way they took care of business last week; focused in the beginning of the match and a transition to cutting up.  SK cruised and was never pushed as they take the Bearcats down by a score of 25-14 in every set of the match. 

Without a doubt, the Neers are absolutely playing their best v-ball of the season as they got contributions from the entire line-up.  Passing and setting was consistent and the entire front line knocked down some of their best kills of the season.  One of the most impressive of the night was Feen’s roundhouse blast in the third set that put an exclamation point of the Neers win.

The dub puts SK into the 8th Region semifinals for the third time in as many years in the 8th Region.  SK will take on North Oldham at 6:45 on Wednesday at Carroll County High School. 

One word...Ham!
Not ready to quit watching my favorite SK vballer of all time...pardon my bias :)
They were getting ready to play Ring Around the Rosie during one of several delays....told you they were cuttin' up.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Three Peat in 32nd

Congrats to the Lady Neers for capturing their 3rd straight 32nd District Championship tonight at Williamstown. 

I really liked the look SK had in the first match.  They looked relaxed yet focused.  However, that look didn’t translate into points early on as the Neers fell down early to Walton by a 3-0 score.  SK would draw even at 3 and play back and forth with Walton until the score was 6-7.  At that point, SK put on a full out assault on Walton as SK went on a 8-1 run where they never would look back.  Ellie Smith was blasting serves across the net that Walton struggled to defend.  If Walton returned, SK was making great passes and running some balanced offense.  SK got strong play from Junior Kahlee Fewner (Feen) who put some 95mph fastballs on the other side of the net, on her way to a 9 kill night.  After trailing early, SK goes on for the 25-14 win. 

Once SK took command of the match by setting the tone in the first set, they transitioned from a relaxed and focused look to a relaxed and fun look as Schmee’s cheering antics made sure everyone was having a good time.  I’m not sure of seen more diaphragm chuckling going on during any of SK’s other matches this year.  In between the chuckling, they also made some nice hustle plays that took the wind out of the WV sails.  SK played the second set by making very few unforced errors which kept the Cats from making any type of run.  SK goes on to win the second by 25-11 score. 

The Neers took a nice early lead in the third set before Walton would mount an early charge back.  SK put the hammer back down and stretched the lead to 8.  WV did mount a midset challenged but SK scored the last 4 points straight to preserve the D-32 three-peat.  A great all around effort tonight by our Neers.   Ellie, Feen, and Kelsie Holland were named to the All Tourney Team for SK. 

SK will play in the 8th Region Tourney next week at either Henry County or Carroll County, depending on who wins the 31st District Tournament tomorrow.  

They are funny!
All Tourney Neers
Rare serious Schmee Look
This is funny for some reason.
Ellie's serves had everyone in the gym flinching
Had this job since soph year; who does it get bequeathed to?

Monday, October 20, 2014

SK Advances to District Final; Secures Place in Regional Tourney

The Lady Neers opened up 32nd District Tourney tonight at Williamstown versus the Lady Demons.  SK was the one seed in the District up against the four seed deems.  SK came in the heavy favorite but anything can happen in tourney time.  SK looked loose in the match early and they took control and went on to wallop Williamstown by 25-7 score.  Schmee had the cheering in high gear in the second set as the Neers cruise to another 25-7 score.  Williamstown would go down fighting as they scored double digits as SK goes on to a 25-15 score.  Key stats for the match; Ellie Smith with 9 kills and 2 aces, Haley Robinson with 9 kills and 3 blocks, Kelsie Holland with 12 digs and 3 aces and Sarah Sergent with 30 assists. 

SK will play peaking Walton on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. at Williamstown for the 32nd District Tourney Title.  Regardless of Wednesday's outcome, the win tonight secures a place in the Regional Tourney next week.  

Rachael Figgins, ATC
Schmee keeping things loose tonight.

Monday, October 13, 2014

SK Learns to Bite Back at Cake

The Lady Neers didn’t win the Jam Cake Classic sponsored by Highlands this past weekend, but they team showed something they haven’t shown all year; the ability to get knocked down and fight back.  That attribute is one that often separates the good high school teams from the mediocre ones.  The teams that have been successful in the 8th Region the last 2 years have been ones that did fight back.  For the tourney, SK finished with a very respectable tie for 3rd place out of 14 teams in a competitive field.

On Saturday; SK knocked off Dixie for the second time this season by identical scores of 25-20.  Dixie has improved greatly since the last time SK saw them.  This was a game where SK had to claw for the dub and they did so against a scrappy Dixie team.  Key stats for the match; Amarah Nicholson with 6 kills and 5 blocks, Haley Robinson with 7 kills, Sarah Sergent with 27 assists and Schmee with 16 digs.

In the Gold semifinal versus Campbell County, SK came out in the first set and looked terrible, losing by a score of 25-10; their lowest losing score of the season.  The good thing was SK seemed to take getting punched in the gut to heart as they came back to take the second set by a score of 25-18, forcing the third set to determine the Cake finalist.  The third set saw two teams play a very even match that was back and forth.  SK was down 10-14 and came back to force overtime points but ended up losing 16-14.  They could have won the third match but couldn’t catch a break that got them over the hump.  Haley had 6 kills, Amarah with 4 kills and 4 blocks and Sarah posted 20 assists and Schmee had 24 digs.
Overall, an encouraging weekend where SK didn't roll over when getting knocked down. Nice job girls; you can do this.  
SK will wrap up the regular “scrimmage” season tomorrow night on senior night versus New Cath before the real season begins next week. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wet Cake Classic Opener

The SK Volleyball team got a good night to be playing indoors and not going to a football game as they headed to Ft. Thomas, the home of Jess Ginter, for the Annual Cake Classic Volleyball tourney.  SK’s opponents tonight were the Louisville Ballard Bruins and the South Oldham Dragons. 

SK looked a little flat at first against Ballard.  Ballard jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the first set before Kelsey Holland went on a scoring run to put SK in front for good.  The Neers played with a high degree of fun and executed several trick plays that we had not seen all year.  They end up winning easily in the first set by a score of 25-16.  

The second set looked like a replay; SK goes down early but comes back again taking the lead that they would not relinquish.  Biz Manser made a play in the second set where she hit a ball with what looked like a back-hand tennis return as she was headed toward the bleachers.  SK would do what they needed to in order to get that point which gave them the mo that they carried to a 25-17 win.  The Neers looked as relaxed as they have all year and played in a manner where they just looked like they were having fun.  Key stats for the match; Rachael Figgins with 8 kills; Ellie Smith with 6 kills, Sarah Sergent with 26 assists and Schmee had 12 digs. 

Once SK wrapped up their match with Ballard; they headed through the maze , and a bumpy ride for Big Schmee, to the middle school for a match with the South Oldham Dragons, a team in the 8th Region locked in the same District as the other two Oldhams.  SK looked good early in the first set before they tensed up and had trouble getting their hits to drop on the floor in the tight confines of the Highlands Middle School gym.  SK battled back towards the end of the set but still fell by a score of 18-25.  The loss took a shot at the looseness the team built during the Ballard game.  

The Dragons took it to the Neers in the second set early and often.  South would build a lead that would extend to 19-10 sending the bus driver out to warm up the cheese wagon.  While South doesn’t have the gaudy record of their Oldham counterparts, they are a solid club which has battled with the best in the 8th and frankly looked to be a notch up on our beloved Neers.  

But then; something happened.  SK played with a refuse to lose mentality that we haven’t seen all year.  Amarah “Airforce” Nicholson was flying around, coming out of nowhere to put blocks on the Dragon hitters that seemed to rattle them.  The Neers went on an absolutely amazing 11-2 run to tie the match at 21 before they would go on to the 25-22 win.  Wow, wow, wow!  More importantly, SK clearly had the momentum on their side.  

SK would look to be in control of the final set going up 7-4 before South would come back and tie the game at 7.  The teams traded point after point with the game being tied at 11 and then again at 13 -before Carson Elliott would serve the final two points to secure SK’s biggest come back of the season.  Key stats for the match; Rachael Figgins with 5 kills and 4 blocks; Ellie Smith with 4 kills; Amarah had 5 kills and 7 blocks, Schmee with 15 digs and Sarah Sergent racked up 20 assists.  Now that was fun!  

SK plays again tomorrow in the Jam Cake Classic as they get bumped from playing in Ft. Thomas due to the ESPN High School Football game and have to play at the Next Level Academy, close to the Wilder City Building. 

Boone County versus SK from 2008

As the Volleyball Season wraps up, I'll be shutting the Blog down from active posts but I decided to posts some of my favorites.  This one was published exactly 6 years ago today and goes out to my brother-in-law Timmy King.  Boone County would absolutely trounce the Neers on this date but the loss woke SK up on route to their appearance in the State Finals.

10/10/2008-A tough night to be a Pioneer fan. I was to have met my sister, Laura, and brother-in-law, Tim King, at the game tonight. Kind of lucky for me; I was late. By the time I found Tim and Laura on the Boone side of the field, it was time to head for Atwood. He just looked at me and smiled. My sister, who didn’t attend SK or Boone, was ready to roll long before we started walking to the gate.

Who is Tim King? Tim was a one of the Boone County storied running backs who rang up gaudy stats at the school. He graduated in 2001. Tim is one of just a couple of former football players at Boone to have been four year letterman in football. From what I can tell, Preston Heron was the other. Tim (we call him Timmy) tallied 1,697 yards in his junior year at Boone. Tim was on target to break school records held by Shaun Alexander before he tore his ACL early in his senior season in a game against LaSalle. Even though he tore his ACL in the first week of September of his senior year, he still amassed nearly 500 yards in just a few games. I found some old stats where he tallied 380 yards in one game against Scott County on 38 carries while also scoring 3 TD’s. Tim has been a good resource for another family member dealing with the same injury. Tim works at SWECO and spends his free time fishing. There will be a Little King here in a few months.

We didn’t really talk about the game once we got back to the house. We watched television and munched on some Kettle Corn.

I really don’t know what to say about the game. As I arrived at Meneffee Stadium, I was scratching my head why there were several parking sports available and people were leaving. Once I got to the gate, the thing I noticed was things were quiet. Funny thing was I didn’t even look at the scoreboard until I had my camera out and ready to go. 42-0! I was shocked. I talked to a couple of other photo guys who basically said it was a case of one team showing up and one team not. If you want to read about the game; the Enquirer sent Ryan Ernst and had long-time Post photographer Jim Osborn on-site. If you really want to read about the game and see pictures, check out; http://nky.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20081010/SPT030201/310100075/
(Sorry, link doesn't work any longer.)

The playoff picture for SK will come down to the Campbell County game. If they win; they make the playoffs; they lose, it is time for basketball. Also, Miles Simpson left the game with an unknown shoulder injury. He was shaken up after a collision with Boone County QB Nate Alford who left on a stretcher in an ambulance. I read on BGP that Alford was OK and that everything was precautionary.

Here's an old picture of Timmy in his senior season against CovCath.

Happy B-day Rachael and Ellie Edition!

All 6 Teams Pose for a Pregame Pic

SK traveled to the center of Boone County for a fall break match-up with the Cooper Jaguars.  The break seemed to take some sting of energy from all three SK teams as they all went down in straight sets. 
In the first varsity set, the Neers fell behind double digits, right out of the gate as they trailed 15-5.  SK woke up and fought back to pull the score to 17-12 before the Jags went on to win by a final of 25-16.   

SK repeated their start in the second set as they fell down early, putting themselves in the hole at 10-4.  After an awesome volley with nice hustle plays by Sarah Sergent and Kelsey Holland followed up by a kill from Rachael Figgins, the Neers came roaring back to pull within one at 17-16.  Two SK miscues following the Cooper timeout gave the Jags a 19-16 advantage .  Cooper’s mo after the TO put them on an 8-3 run to dash the Pioneers hopes of the second set dub as Cooper cruises to the 25-19 win. 

The Neers reversed the early set doldrums as they got a good start by going up 4-3.  Cooper wasn’t about to loosen up the stranglehold on their potential sweep as they would go on a 8-3 run prompting a SK timeout.  SK failed to hold their early momentum and fell down 15-7.  SK would get a mid-set push but again unforced errors were their challenge as they fell in the final set by a score of 25-13 as the Neers finished the match without much energy.  Key stats for the night included 8 kills and 4 blocks from Rachael Figgins and 14 Digs from Schmee.   

The teams joined forces in Volley for Cure as a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation through raffles and bake sales.  A nice effort by both programs. 

SK will play in the Cake Classic sponsored by Highlands Friday night and Saturday.  

Happy 18th Rach and Ellie!
Two of the Biggest Fans

Car, Fig, Nut
Like Daughter...
...Like Mother.  Bomber
First Official Act as an Adult.
Hey! You are looking the wrong way!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

TBT; Happy Birthday Rachael Edition!

NOTE:  This is a TBT Post honoring Rachael's 18th Birthday.  This was originally Blogged in the Fall, 2006 and represents her first appearance on the Blog.

In a game that started in a drizzle and ended in a downpour, the SK Girls bested the Calvary Christian Lady Cougars 2-0 at Calvary's field tonight. The Lady Pioneers have a winning streak of 6 games. The win solidifies the Lady Pioneers as the number one seed in the district tournament in October. SK put 2 goals on the board in the first half off a deflection from junior Shay Nienaber's corner kick and a high shot goal from freshman Jillian Russell.

The Lady Pioneers played a considerable amount of defense in the second half but were able to hold Calvary to post their third consecutive shutout- all against district opponents. The always dangerous Meghan Gudgeon from Calvary had some nice shots on goal but senior Annie Hamm was able to keep the ball out of the net along with another nice effort from the rest of the defense.

The JV team was able to start play but was unable to finish as the rains came down and the field became unplayable.
Senior Shari Cooper sends the ball into space.

Jill Russell gvae a nice smile to the crowd as the second half kicks off.

Need-a-bobber practices her pas de bourrée as she follows through on the direct free kick.

"Coach, keeping up with this girl is really giving me a headache."

Brandner battles as Cagle moves into space.

The SK Fans took shelter where they could as the rain came down in Taylor Mill. This Little Fig hid under a spruce.