Lady Blue loses thriller to Big PineySep 3, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
Everything looked good for Shoshoni after the opening set of its volleyball match against Big Piney at Wrangler Gym on Saturday after Lady Blue took the opening game by a 25-21 score.
However, the visitors slugged back in winning the next two sets fairly easily by scores of 25-13 and 25-14 to put the home club on the brink of defeat.
However, fueled by a front line of Ashley Steffen, Kianna Pierson and Whispe Pingetzer, Lady Blue fought back to deadlock the match at two sets apiece after prevailing in the fourth, 25-16, forcing a decisive fifth-set tiebreaker.
But, the trend from the second and third stanzas carried over into the decider, as the Lady Punchers jumped out to a 5-1 advantage before a furious fightback by the Wranglers pulled them to with a pair of points at 13-11, as Pierson, Brianna Thompson, Wirthe Pingetzer and Steffen contributed late kills to the cause.
But, alas, it wasn't meant to be, as Big Piney was able to hold off Shoshoni for the five-set victory by a scoreline of 3-2 (21-25, 25-13, 25-14, 16-25, 15-11).
For Wranglers head coach Christina Mills, the match provided her and her young, inexperienced club a growth opportunity they took full advantage of, she said.
"We're still trying to figure everything out," said Mills. "We need to learn to listen for where we need to be on the court and get used to being powerful across our front row."
Lady Blue showed plenty of power on the day, as Steffen, Whispe Pingetzer and Pierson each had 11 kills, while Wirthe Pingetzer added nine.
Thompson was her usual solid, dependable self, providing 42 assists to the big hitters up front, as Steffen led Shoshoni with 26 digs.
According to Mills, the downfall of her squad in the second and third sets was her squad's inability to receive the Lady Puncher's powerful serves.
"In the first set, we were passing very well," said Mills. "But, then they started serving tough and we didn't receive well enough."
Despite the defeat, Mills was pleased with how her charges twice fought back from adversity in the match.
"Volleyball's a game of momentum and in the fourth set, we got it back," she said. "Even in the fifth set, we came back and it could've been a different game."
Mills said the match against the Punchers will serve her squad well down the road.
"We only have three seniors, so it was definitely a good learning experience for us," she said. "We have a lot of growing to do and we'll get better."
Shoshoni (3-6) will next play in the Big Horn Invitational on Friday and Saturday.