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Morning Sun
  • Chanute too strong for Paola, Pittsburg volleyball

  • With their respective cheering sections going back-and-forth all match and the history of the two schools, the nonleague volleyball match Tuesday night between Pittsburg and Chanute felt more significant than a nonleague match.

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  • With their respective cheering sections going back-and-forth all match and the history of the two schools, the nonleague volleyball match Tuesday night between Pittsburg and Chanute felt more significant than a nonleague match.
    Pittsburg won the first set 25-21 but Chanute won the next two — 25-11, 25-17 — to complete a triangular sweep of Paola (21-25, 25-15, 25-16) and Pittsburg. All three matches went a full three sets and the Panthers and the Purple Dragons pushed undefeated, state-ranked Chanute.
    “They’re big, tall, athletic players and I’ve watched them as their junior and their senior class . . . we’re familiar with them because they’ve always given us trouble,” Pittsburg head coach Mary Packard said. “They were our last match of the year at substate and we saw them two other times last year. We know what we’re up against and it pushes us in practice knowing that we’re going to play them. Playing them makes us a better team.
    “At times tonight, we played pretty well. We were crafty, figured out ways to score but other times, we didn’t and we got caught watching the game sometimes. If you can keep the rally going, that’s always a plus and it’s not just an automatic pound-on-the-ground.”
    Pittsburg fell behind 11-4 and 12-5 to Chanute in the first set, as sophomore Macy Flowers and senior Brenna Olson proved dominant around the net with multiple kills.
    However, Pittsburg caught back up at 14-all and went ahead 22-17 after a kill by senior Andie Casper and back-to-back aces by Rheid Tridle.
    Despite a run of three kills by Flowers, Pittsburg maintained its lead and closed out the set with back-to-back kills after Chanute narrowed it to 23-21.
    “We had good energy,” Packard said. “I think we caught them offguard in the first set and I think they were mad in the second set when they came out because we did not play our best.”
    Tridle started out the second in style with back-to-back kills but after that 2-0 lead, Pittsburg saw Chanute go on 6-0 and 10-0 runs. With the 10-0 run, Chanute went from ahead 10-7 to ahead 20-7.
    In the final set, Chanute broke a 5-5 tie and then never trailed, closing out Pittsburg 25-17 as Casper’s final shot went long.
    “It’s disappointing when you get a team like that in the first one and you just don’t finish it,” Packard said. “All it can do is prep us for when we play them next week for league. Now we need to get ready for our first league match at our Pink Out on Thursday against Independence.”
    Pittsburg lost in three sets to Paola (22-25, 25-20, 10-25).
    Casper led Pittsburg with nine kills against Chanute (16-0), supported by Tridle with five, Bethanne Elliott with four, Lizzy Willis with three and Jordan Dee with three kills.
    Page 2 of 2 - Alaura Short and Mercedes Vogel each had nine assists.
    Casper also led the Dragon attack with six kills against Paola; Elliott, Willis and Tridle each had four and Brianna Maxwell added three. Short and Vogel distributed 10 and nine assists, respectively.
    Pittsburg (14-4) starts league play Thursday against Independence and also plays former Southeast Kansas League member Iola.
    “We’re excited for league,” Packard said. “Hopefully, we’ve prepared. Obviously, Chanute’s going to be difficult competition for us and it comes very quickly, next week. We go to what I consider three hostile territories this year — Chanute, Labette County and Fort Scott — and what I consider three big rivals at their home place. We have to be ready for that and look at that aspect. Chanute has a great crowd, so it’s to our disadvantage that we’re traveling but hopefully, we can maybe surprise them again. We’ll have to get better between now and next Thursday.”
    Pink-Out Night
    The Pittsburg High School volleyball team will continue its support for breast cancer patients and the fight against the deadly disease when it hosts the third annual Dragons For A Cure event Thursday
    The varsity and JV volleyball teams take on Independence and Iola Thursday, and teams, coaches and boosters will sell pink or purple Dragons For A Cure T-shirts and wrist bands. A variety of other items also will be raffled during the event. All proceeds will benefit Angels Among Us, a local organization that supports breast cancer patients.
    Matches begin at 5 p.m. at Pittsburg High School.

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