OKLAHOMA CITY – For perhaps the first time all season, Piedmont’s volleyball team dug in and fought when the odds were long.
The result – a four set loss at Putnam City North (25-15, 22-25, 14-25, 31-33) – wasn’t what the Wildcats wanted, but head coach Brad Brucker liked what he saw out of his team in its regular season finale.
“We finally found some fight and I can be happy with that,” he said afterwards. “That’s all I can ask from them. I’ve asked them all year, I just want you to fight as hard on the court as I’m fighting for you on the sidelines.”
The Wildcats fought as hard as they’d fought all season Tuesday at Putnam City North. Trailing two sets to one in the fourth set, Piedmont fell behind 21-16, but battled back to tie the score at 21 on a tough dig from Skylar Mylonas on a point that ended in a kill from Maddie Boothe.
As it was, the marathon fourth set had just begun. Piedmont scored two straight points to grab a 23-21 lead, but playing on their senior night, the Panthers responded to tie the match at 23, and eventually took a 24-23 lead.
Piedmont went on to fend off five match points from the Panthers while grabbing two set point chances of its own before falling to PC, 33-31 in a decisive and thrilling fourth set.
“Did we lose and are they disappointed? Sure, but it’s something you can be proud of,” Brucker said. “PC North played really well tonight. They’re a much improved team.”
Piedmont took the first set with relative ease, racing out to a 17-10 lead and pulling away for the 25-15 win. But in the next two sets Piedmont made a bevy of unforced errors and let an athletic Panther team gain confidence.
“I feel like we let one get away by not showing up in the second and third sets,” he said. “If we had played in the second and third sets like we did in the fourth, we’d have blown their doors off.”
Piedmont closes the regular season13-15 and awaits its regional draw.
“If we play like the end of that set, I’ll like our chances,” Brucker said of the postseason. “We haven’t found that many times this year. To find that in your last game, I feel good about that.”