Paintsville Volleyball and its head coach Dawn Kinner have established a culture of dominance on the volleyball court.
Over the past five seasons, Paintsville has won three 15th Region titles.
You’ll have to go all the way back to 2011 to find a 57th District champion not dressed in blue and white.
With a record like that, we expect to see the Lady Tigers competing for a regional title. They did just that last season, capping a 32-8 campaign with a 3-0 loss to Floyd Central in the 15th Region Championship.
This season, the Lady Tigers have adopted a special motto, “the unfinished business”.
“After failing in the regional championship last year, our motto this season is unfinished business.” said coach Dawn Kinner. “Our girls know what they need to do to make sure this year we finish our business.”
This season, all the pieces are in place for the Lady Tigers to do just that and take care of business.
Despite losing three seniors, this year’s squad have a great senior class with plenty of talent and coach Kinner said they expect all of their seniors to have great seasons.
Hailey Little was impressive in her freshman year, racking up 426 kills to lead the team. She also had 33 blocks, 15 assists, 211 digs and 79 aces. Look for her to be even stronger this year.
Paintsville’s bouldering leader last season, Blair Ratliff (73) also returns this year. Ratliff also finished third on the team last year with 286 kills. She also had 34 assists, 84 digs and 60 aces last season.
Kynzi Slone ranked 14th in the state last year with 977 assists. Slone also had 82 aces, 48 kills, 33 blocks and 183 digs last season.
Kara Ward is another returning senior who had impressive stats last season. She led the Lady Tigers with 100 aces. Her 303 digs were second only to Mattie Ratliff who graduated last spring. Ward also had 23 assists, 35 blocks and 303 eliminations.
Bella Blackburn is also returning for Paintsville after missing the 2021 season through injury. Blackburn had solid numbers in their second season, with an impressive 612 assists.
Coach Kinner called Blackburn’s return a “game changer”. She added more praise for the senior, “There’s no doubt she’s going to have a big season. She directs our offense and is so good at what she does that we are able to expand our offensive sets to include more options than we have with the hitters we return. It also allows Kynzi Slone, who did a fantastic job as a setter last year, to step into our Libero role.
Behind a solid cast of seniors, there is a lot of talent.
Coach Kinner expects Junior Kat Baldwin, Sophomore Olivia Maynard and 8th grade Kylie Kinner to take on bigger roles this season.
When asked what she considers a successful season, Coach Kinner does not mention championships or winning games.
“For me, a successful season is a season in which every player improves, encourages his teammates, and at the end of the season you can look back and know that you gave him everything you had. We are waiting of each player that they play to their maximum potential.When everyone is doing their job and the main objective is to be a team and not let their teammates down, we reach our highest potential.
Paintsville will host its annual preseason scenic scrimmages with 12 other regional teams on August 13.