The Pratt Greenback volleyball team finally got that elusive tournament championship they had been looking for this year. After finishing third and second respectively in their last two tournaments, the girls put it all together to take first place in the Lyons Invitational Saturday. The field included Little River, Ellinwood, Lyons, Southeast of Saline, Russell, Otis-Bison, and Ellsworth.
After Tuesday's triangular at Kingman, the team worked on some different alignments to strengthen the rotations. "The height just isn't there, so you get creative and try putting kids where they will be most successful." stated head coach Dean Rausch. It seemed to work Saturday. The Greenbacks got stronger and stronger as the day went on.
There were two new additions to the Lyons tournament. The Otis-Bison Cougars and the Little River Redskins. The Greenbacks first took on Otis-Bison. Strong serving and passing by Pratt helped make quick work of the Cougars, winning in two sets, 25-9, 25-12. Jenson Maydew had twelve kills in the effort and Jaci Kolm had 14 assists to lead the team.
Little River has a strong tradition in sports. The Redskins are tall and athletic. But the day would belong to the Gold and Green. Once again, strong serving and passing paved the way, and then junior Jenson Maydew's 11-kill effort closed the deal. Sophomore Stonie Flemming added six kills for good measure. Kolm and senior Emily Hook both had three ace serves in the 25-12, 25-18, victory.
The Southeast of Saline Trojans was Pratt's final opponent in pool play. There are always spirited battles when these two teams meet and Saturday's match would be no different.
In a seesaw battle with several lead changes, the Trojans put together a late run, defeating the Greenbacks 22-25. Pratt reciprocated in the second set, winning with the identical 25-22 score. With an air of determination, the Green and Gold defense tightened up a little more in the third and deciding set, winning it and the match, 25-20, securing the top seed in their pool. Maydew once again led the way with 15-kills, followed by Stonie Flemming with seven. Bailey Gillig had 9-digs on 24/29 passing in the win.
In the championship bracket Pratt would take on the state-ranked Ellsworth Bearcats coming in with a 10-1 record. After losing a three-set match to rival Ellinwood, the Bearcats were looking for some fresh meat. Frog would not be on the menu, however. The more and more confident Greenbacks made short work of Ellsworth, beating them in consecutive sets, 25-13, 25-18.
The championship match would once again pit the Greenbacks against the Southeast of Saline Trojans. You could see it in their eyes. The Greenbacks were loose, upbeat, and ready to go.
They scored the first six points and had a 13-3 lead before the Trojans could get started, cruising to a 25-11 first-set victory. The game went back and forth in the second set, but eventually Pratt caught fire with junior Amy Olson serving four straight, junior Lauren Rambat five straight, and sophomore Paige Bailey the final two for the set, match and championship, 25-14!
Page 2 of 2 - The Greenbacks have a home match Tuesday night against Nickerson, V/JV/C starting at 5 p.m.