PITTSBURG — Three evenly-matched teams in Riverton, Southeast and St. Mary’s-Colgan each came away with a two-game split on Tuesday night inside SMC Fieldhouse.
The Panthers began the night a 2-1 loss to Riverton, but bounced back to get a two-set sweep over the Lancers, who knocked off the Rams 2-1.
In between games, the Panthers took time to recognize their seniors.
The SMC seniors are Synclaire Borum, Marci VanBecelaere and Kamree Pace.
"Our seniors have provided us with great leadership this year," SMC head coach Cathy Oplotnik said. "They work hard in practice and push their teammates. They are a fun group."
PANTHERS SWEEP LANCERS
After dropping the first game of the night against Riverton, the Panthers avoided a second loss by sweeping the Lancers in two sets 25-14 and 25-22.
“In the first match, we played well, but Riverton played better,” Oplotnik said. “Against Southeast, I thought we played smarter. I’m disappointed that we lost to Riverton, but I’m hoping we’ll get a rematch against them this weekend in our tournament.”
The Panthers cruised to a 25-14 win in the opening set over Southeast and kept the momentum going in the second set, as they jumped out to a 7-2 lead with the help of Kenzie Venneman and Millie Stockard, who each had two kills apiece.
Southeast continued to fight and rallied to tie the score at 18-all, before taking the lead at 21-18 on the strength of three consecutive points.
The Lancers’ go-ahead point was scored on a block by Taylor Myrick, who followed it up with a kill.
SMC regained control of the contest in the final stages, outscoring Southeast 7-1 down the stretch to seal the win.
The 7-1 run included two kills apiece from Stockard and Kaitlin Crossland.
Stockard led the way with 12 kills, five assists and one ace.
Venneman also had a big hand in the win, as she posted eight kills, with many of them coming from C.J. Stockard’s 18 assists.
In the matchup against Riverton, the Panthers fell in three sets, losing the opener 25-22, winning the second set 25-15 and dropping the third 25-22.
Millie Stockard totalled 13 kills with nine assists, while C.J. Stockard contributed 25 assists and a pair of aces.
Kate Radell also had an ace and tallied six kills.
For the Lancers, Sailor Jackson collected six kills and six digs, while her teammate Megan Colvin contributed six digs.
Saydi Sullivan also had a pair of blocks.
“Offensively against Colgan, we just kept getting stuck in rotation,” SHS head coach Maya White said. “We didn’t execute as well as we did in the previous game. Defensively, the front row did a great job of blocking at the net and getting their touches. We just didn’t execute enough.”
SOUTHEAST TAKES DOWN RIVERTON
Although the Lancers ended the night on a bad note, they picked up a 2-1 win over Riverton in the first game.
“The girls played really well in this one,” White said. “We limited our errors and we had a lot of girls contributing on offense. Riverton did a good job of beating us with tips in the second set, but in the third set, the girls started picking them up and transitioning them to points. We still have a lot to work on in these next two weeks, but I feel like we’re heading in the right direction.”
Southeast dropped the second set 25-19 against the Rams after winning the opener 25-20 and went on to win the decisive third set 26-24.
Southeast pulled even with the Rams at 17-17 in the third set on the strength of eight consecutive points.
The 8-0 run was highlighted by a pair of aces from Katie Bitner and included a kill by Taylor Myrick and MaKayla Buffington.
Both teams were matching each other point-for-point until the Lancers earned the win on an ace by Laura Ridings followed by a miscue by the Rams.
Southeast was led by Sailor Jackson, who contributed 14 kills and 20 digs.
Bitner also had a big hand in the win, as she had 11 digs and 11 assists.
Ridings and Megan Colvin each had 10 digs apiece.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.