Lady Punchers take Kemmerer to four sets
KEMMERER – Competition is heating up in the 2A Southwest Volleyball Conference, especially between the top two teams in the quadrant, the Big Piney High School Lady Punchers and the Kemmerer Lady Rangers.
The rivals pulled out all the stops in an epic four-set battle at Kemmerer on Thursday, Sept. 21.
Kemmerer won the first set. Undaunted, the Lady Punchers roared back in the second set to score a decisive victory. The Lady Rangers responded with a win in the third set.
In a closely contested fourth set, the Lady Punchers fought point-for-point to stay in the game, including a valiant 5-point run at the end of the set that came close to closing the gap.
Kemmerer managed to remain ahead, winning the fourth set by 2 points, 25-23, to claim victory, 3-1.
The grit displayed by the Lady Punchers against Kemmerer proved Big Piney possesses the ability to run with any rival in the 2A Southwest Conference.
On Saturday, the Lady Punchers traveled to play non-conference rival Mountain View, the No. 1 seed in the 3A Southwest Conference. Mountain View proved a tough opponent and Big Piney fell, 3-0.
Head Coach Kinsy Voss expressed pride in the Lady Punchers’ efforts.
“The game against Kemmerer was well played,” she added. “We kept fighting til the end, although we had a few errors on our end and we need to clean up. Mountain View is always a good team. By the third set, we got our defense to speed up and put up more of a fight.”
Big Piney hit the ground running in the first set with powerful kills from junior Micah Strong, freshman Jada Banks and sophomore Kodee Greene.
Junior Addison Losik made two blocks and delivered a kill, placing Big Piney ahead, 7-3.
Kemmerer found its footing and tied the set at 9 points. A dig by sophomore libero Lizzy Brandt resulted in a point for the Lady Punchers. Greene slammed over a pair of hits and Banks spiked a kill. Junior Charleigh Smith set over a point.
The Lady Rangers managed to hold onto the lead and scored game point, 25-17.
Turning the tables in the second set, the Lady Punchers refused to yield. Losik shut down Kemmerer’s 3-point run with a kill. Greene aced her serve and Banks made a block to tie the set, 5-5. Greene served up a second ace, pulling the Lady Punchers ahead, 6-5.
Kemmerer briefly retook the initiative. The Lady Punchers served the ball out of bounds and Losik struck with a kill. Strong followed up with a hit and Kemmerer sent the ball into the net.
A dig by sophomore Kaity Shreve kept the ball alive. Shreve passed the ball to Brandt, who powered it over the net, bringing the set to a 13-13 stalemate.
The Lady Punchers edged ahead with a block by Greene. Junior Kendra Willoughby aced a serve. Strong set over a point and Losik powered up another kill. Greene aced a pair of serves and Banks made a block for game point, 25-19.
Kemmerer edged ahead early in the third set and held onto the lead through game point, 25-14.
The game came down to the fourth set and the Lady Punchers gave it their all to bridge the deficit and force Kemmerer into a tiebreaker.
Big Piney established an early lead with hits from Greene and Shreve. Kemmerer pulled ahead and slowly widened the lead to 7 points.
Undeterred, Big Piney battled back with a 5-point run. Sophomore Brylie Bailey slammed over a kill. Strong reached up for a block and Banks aced two serves. The Lady Rangers managed to score 2 points to retain a razor-thin lead, including game point, 25-23.
Big Piney travels to compete at the Bobcat Invite hosted by Thermopolis on Sept. 29-30.
“We have our favorite tournament this weekend in Thermopolis and have that time to make adjustments that are needed,” said Coach Voss.