High School Sports

11th Region champ Henry Clay falls to No. 1 Assumption in state tourney quarterfinals

Led by a core of five seniors, the Henry Clay volleyball team won this year’s 11th Region championship and returned to the state tournament for the first time since 2016. The eighth-ranked Blue Devils swept West Jessamine in Friday’s opening round, but their postseason run came to an end on Saturday at the hands of the two-time defending state champion, No. 1 Assumption.

The Rockets swept Henry Clay 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-9) at Valley High School in Louisville. The loss ended a 10-match win streak for the Blue Devils, who dropped just two sets during that stretch. Senior Taylor Trammell, who’s committed to Purdue, led Henry Clay with eight kills and three blocks.

“I’m very, very proud of them,” Henry Clay Coach Dale Grupe said. “The fact that we played such a tough schedule and that they just continued to improve all year is a testament to them.”

Grupe said his seniors zeroed in on the goal of reclaiming the 11th Region crown after ceding in to Paul Dunbar the past two years.

“Getting back to the state tournament was huge after a few years away,” Grupe said. “I know it was a big load off the seniors and some of the other kids that have been playing a lot the past few years to get over that hump, because we do play in a really tough region.”

Grupe said he was proud of the way the Blue Devils fought back after digging a deep hole in the first set.

“Assumption played great. They deserve that No. 1 ranking,” he said. “They took us serious. That, to me, was a sign of respect. Our kids fought until the end even after getting down big. And that’s all you can ask for. Our kids never gave up, and I’m proud of them.”

Josh Sullivan has worked at the Herald-Leader for more than 10 years in multiple capacities, including as a news assistant, page designer, copy editor and sports reporter. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Lexington native.