It was Buck Night Wednesday at the home opener for the Pratt Community College volleyball team.
The Lady Beavers treated the large, raucous crowd to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Dodge City Conquistadors. After dropping the opening set 16-25, PCC roared back to grab the next 3 sets 25-19, 25-23 and 25-16.
In the opening set, Dodge’s outside hitters were scoring regularly. Pratt could sustain no offense, in large part due to service errors. “That (serving) is the elephant in the room,” PCC head coach Misty Arnold acknowledged. “We have to get better. We’re working on it in practice.” DCCC won set one 16-25.
In the second set, the Lady Beavers front line was able to start winning some battles at the net, and they began to defeat the Lady Conqs’ spikes. Brooke Christie was one of the blockers who led the way for Pratt. “We’ve been working hard on our blocking,” Arnold reported. “It’s a weird skill to master. We’re going to keep improving.”
As the tide began to turn, PCC displayed a balanced offense allowing them to take the lead. Ashlie Gramke, Haley McKee, Alexis Sanchez, Whitney Gibson and Jocelyn Cochran all had kills in that stretch for Pratt. PCC evened the match, taking set two 25-19.
“We lost our returning big-hitter Darian Konrade to an ACL last week,” Arnold mentioned. “We have a new line-up now because of that, and the girls are working to create a new chemistry.”
Set three was probably the crucible of the match, and was the most closely contested. It was a game that featured runs by both teams, and numerous tie scores. Tied at 23, PCC’s Cochran got a slam to put Pratt up by one, and then an OB return by Dodge gave Pratt the win 25-23. That seemed to put Pratt in the driver’s seat, up 2-1.
Game 4 was all Pratt as they closed out the Lady Conqs 25-16. “Momentum is huge in volleyball,” Coach Arnold said. “We were able to get on a roll in the 4th game and we really used the momentum to our advantage.”
The Beavers were clicking on all cylinders in game 4. The serving began to come together as Kaci Copeland and Megan Putnam served PCC to a 10-2 lead before DCCC knew what had hit them. PCC’s front line was finding the holes in Dodge’s defense, and the Beavers rolled.
After getting ahead 13-3, Pratt just played out the string, substituting freely, and came away with the easy 25-16 conclusive victory.
Pratt is now 2-4 on the season (2-0 in the Jayhawk). They travel to Highland this weekend for a tournament.
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