By Evan Grice
Before heading into the regional tournament, the Piedmont Lady Wildcats volleyball team gave themselves one last boost of momentum last Thursday night at the Piedmont Intermediate Gymnasium.
Against the Putnam City North Lady Panthers, PHS found itself deadlocked at 1-1 after two sets. But, the Lady Wildcats woke up and took the next two sets to win in four (25-19, 18-25, 27-25, and 25-23) on senior night.
The victory over PCN was the first for the Piedmont Lady Wildcats volleyball program.
Ironically enough, it was senior Miranda Wagner who got the game winning kill in the fourth set, which set off a wild celebration from the Lady Wildcats and their fans.
“It was amazing, I couldn’t believe it hit the floor,” Wagner said about the game-winning kill. “We’ve made so much progress as a team and I’m so excited to watch them next year. I’m kind of sad that I won’t get to play next year with these girls, but I’m so proud of all of them.”
The final set of the night was a climatic end to what had been a very entertaining match of volleyball between both teams.
PCN took a one-point lead at 22-21 late in the fourth, until Piedmont went on a 3-0 run to take a 24-22 lead, before finally closing out the match.
“I thought we had more spirit and fight to us during the match,” PHS head coach Brad Brucker said. “Our confidence is cleaned up and that’s important. We made some adjustments during the game, but it worked out for us. I loved that Miranda was able to get the final kill on the night that was poetic justice in my view.”
Set number one was all Piedmont as the Lady Wildcats jumped out to an early 8-1 lead before PCN rallied to close the gap to 12-10 when PHS head coach Brad Brucker called a timeout.
However, the rally was short lived as Piedmont went on an 8-3 run to make it 20-13, before winning set one by six points.
Putnam City North never let Piedmont get into a groove in set two, as Piedmont was only able to tie proceedings at 4-4, but could never get over the hump as the Lady Panthers won 25-18.
Set three was a classic back and forth encounter as PCN held a 13-7 lead before Piedmont stormed back to tie things at 21-21.
PHS had its chances to win in regulation at 24-22, but the Lady Panthers rallied to tie the set at 25-25.
Piedmont would take the only two points of the extra session as the Lady Wildcats went up 2-1 in the match.
“This win was huge for us,” Lady Wildcat player Bailey Banks said. “We’ve never beaten them (Putnam City North) before and we really wanted this win. I feel like this gives us all a huge boost going into regionals.”
Kayden Carver and Anna Young both tallied 10 kills in the match, with Wagner finishing her home career with five kills on the night. Bailey Banks and Kasidi Hardy both finished with three kills.
As a team the Lady Wildcats (12-12) finished hitting .303 on the night.
Tara Patterson was the other senior honored on the evening along with Wagner.