Lady Punchers snag first conference win
LANDER – The Big Piney High School Lady Punchers topped off a demanding weekend at the Lander Invite by routing 2A Southwest Conference rival Wyoming Indian High School (WIHS) in a clean sweep, 3-0, on Friday, Aug. 25.
The two-day tournament, hosted by Lander and Wyoming Indian high schools, pitted the Lady Punchers against other 2A teams from the Northwest that Big Piney will likely play again in the postseason, along with 3A non-conference team Lander.
The action opened with Big Piney falling to 2A Northwest opponent Wind River in four tightly contested sets, 3-1, on Friday.
Rebounding from Wind River, the Lady Punchers showed no mercy against WIHS later that afternoon, handily winning all three sets.
On Saturday, Big Piney squared off against 2A Northwest Shoshoni in three tight sets, ultimately coming up short, 3-0. That afternoon, the Lady Punchers fell to Lander, 3-0.
Head Coach Kinsy Voss called the season-opening invitational an “eye opener.”
“We have a younger team, but their potential is what I’m excited for,” she added. “I got to utilize a couple freshmen in rotations. I also had a couple defensive standouts. Our libero, (sophomore) Lizzy Brandt, gathered 93 digs and (sophomore) Kodee Greene was a solid force with her blocks. We are working to strengthen our offense this year. We’ve got (junior) Micah Strong to help us become a more power-hitting team on the net.”
The Lady Punchers hit the court on Friday eager for a fight, clobbering the Lady Cougars, 25-15.
Wind River turned the tables in the second and third set, winning 25-15 and 25-18, respectively.
The game came down to wire in the fourth set as Big Piney battled to stay in the game. The lead bounced back and forth across the court until Wind River managed to pull ahead by 5 points at the end of the fourth set to win, 25-20.
“We came out full force against Wind River,” said Coach Voss. “That was great – just to start right out of the gate with intensity. We became tired and Wind River adjusted. We will work on conditioning a bit more at practices.”
The first set between Big Piney and WIHS turned into a neck-and-neck duel as the conference rivals scrapped for the lead. Refusing to yield in the final moments of the set, the Lady Punchers scored 4 decisive points to snap up the win, 25-21.
Big Piney shut down WIHS’s attempt to gain the upper hand in the second set. Tasting blood, the Lady Punchers threw down the gauntlet and handily won the set, 25-18.
Maintaining the momentum into a third set, Big Piney trounced WIHS, 25-18.
Saturday’s game between Big Piney and 2A Northwest Shoshoni proved a close one. Shoshoni won the first set by a razor-thin margin, 25-23. Despite strong resistance from the Lady Punchers in the second set, Shoshoni managed to edge ahead by 3 points, 25-22. Shoshoni went on to win the third set, 25-17.
“Shoshoni was a great fight and we played right with them,” said Coach Voss.
Even though Big Piney fought to the bitter end against its significantly larger opponent, Lander, the Lady Tigers won all three sets (25-10, 25-11 and 25-13).
“Lander is a talented team,” Coach Voss continued. “They made us work, but we adjusted in the second set with a stronger block and kept their outsides from getting through.”
Tournament action continues this week as Big Piney plays multiple rivals in Evanston on Sept. 1-2.