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Wranglers claim fourth at 2-A state volleyball

Wranglers claim fourth at 2-A state volleyball

Oct 28, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

CASPER -- Wright knocked off Shoshoni High School twice in three days at the Class 2-A state volleyball tournament at the Casper Events Center. Shoshoni claimed the fourth-place trophy.

In the third-place match, the Panthers edged the Lady Wranglers 25-19, 17-25, 16-25, 25-15, 16-14 on Saturday afternoon.

In the morning, the Lady Wranglers eliminated Thermopolis 25-23, 25-22, 25-13, 25-18, in consolation play to qualify for the third-fourth match.

The contest was a rematch of the Class 2-A West regional preview, where SHS outlasted Thermopolis at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse in Lander.

The Lady Wranglers had a No. 1 seed for the state tournament. Wright upset SHS Thursday in the opening round. Wright was the No. 4 seed from the Class 2-A East conference.

Lovell swept Big Horn to claim the state championship.

"I knew that when we came in that we had to play really well to beat Wright," SHS coach Christina Mills said. "We didn't play well. We did not hit the ball and, most importantly, we didn't dig well. Those are two things that you need to beat a really good team like that. Wright is a high-caliber team that will hit at you."

SHS collected its first win at the state tournament in a 23-25, 25-27, 25-15, 25-18, 15-13 victory vs. Southeast Friday afternoon in a consolation match.

"It just showed a lot of heart and commitment," said Mills about the comeback win. "Everyone of the girls had to step up at a different time."

The Lady Wranglers will graduate seniors KayLee Fegler, Kelly McAuslan, Sarah Thompson, Natalee Goff, Shaide Pingetzer and Kolbi Pickinpaugh in May.

SHS 3, Southeast 2

(Friday afternoon

Southeast held off a late charge by SHS in the first set to earn a two-point victory. The second set was just as tight as the first.

The Lady Wranglers trailed 21-17 before coming back for a 24-23 lead. Southeast produced four more points to claim another tight win.

SHS started to play like a No. 1 seed in the third set. Pickinpaugh was all over the net as she used her left-handed swing to her advantage to build a 19-13 cushion. Pickinpaugh closed out the set with a kill for the 10-point win.

"In the first couple of games, we weren't passing well," Mills said. "We weren't getting good swings. If we don't get good swings, then we are in trouble. We hit the ball a lot better. We changed where we were hitting. That makes a difference."

In the fourth set, Pickinpaugh, Thompson and Goff all started to slam down the ball to extend the match into the fifth set.

In the final, Pickinpaugh and Thompson delivered back-to-back kills for a 9-6 advantage on the scoreboard.

"All my hitters stepped up," Mills said.

Goff hammered a kill down the sideline to electrify Shoshoni's bench at 11-6. The Lady Wranglers added two more points to keep ahead 13-7.

"We got a run right away in the fifth set, and that always makes a big difference," Mills said.

Southeast wasn't done yet. The Cyclones went on a 5-0 run to close the gap to 13-12. Goff stopped Southeast's run on another kill at 14-12, while Thompson finished the match on a kill as SHS celebrated the victory.

"We just had to maintain that when Southeast came back," Mills said. "I'm just proud of the girls for stepping up and getting the job done and believing in themselves. It was just a big win for us."

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