Despite struggling early in the day, the Pratt High School volleyball team was able to get the ship righted and take first place in the Lyons Tournament on Saturday.
Lady Green dropped their first game to Ellinwood, 19-25; 17-25. PHS seemed unfocused in the early morning match-up, uncharacteristically committing numerous ball-handling and hitting errors. The Frogs only converted 19% of their hits. “We need to be in the 30s-40s as a team,” PHS head coach Shelby Nesbit lamented.
“We had no excitement, no communication…our defensive coverage was off,” Nesbit continued. “But give Ellinwood credit, they had some very good outside hitters.”
For the next match against Little River, Nesbit made some changes in the Pratt defense that seemed to benefit the Frog cause. They turned aside the Indians 25-18; 25-21 to get back on track.
Stonie Flemming had 3/3 kills and Bailey Gillig whomped 3 service aces to spark the Greenback resurgence.
Against Ellsworth, the Greenbacks appeared to be back in high gear, taming the Bearcats 25-13; 25-12. Jenson Maydew was 4/5 in kills and Amy Olson 3/4 to lead the Greenback spikers. Maydew tweaked an ankle during the match, and Paige Bailey came in to play middle in her stead. “She did a very nice job,” Nesbit said of Bailey.
Pratt’s next match-up was against 3A #3 Southeast of Saline, who Nesbit referred to as “ a very solid team.” Pratt outlasted then 26-24; 17-25; 25-23. “We had to fight and stay disciplined to pull out the win,” Coach Nesbit explained. “They had some great attackers and our defense really worked together to frustrate them. I think that was the difference in the game. We didn't get a lot of kills but I had given my hitters specifics of what I wanted out of them that match—where to hit, what was open etc.— and they followed through.”
That victory set up a rematch with the Ellinwood Eagles in the tournament finals. “I was very glad that we were able to have a rematch with them,” Nesbit mentioned. “I knew that the team they beat in the morning was not us.”
Although the return match was close, Pratt got the better of it 25-23; 25-20. “We had control the entire match,” said Nesbit. “The girls played with confidence and really shut down their hitters.”
In the finale, Destani Garten had 3 stuff blocks and Maydew (returning from the ankle tweak) was 3/3 in kills.
Coach Nesbit felt that the Greenbacks didn’t play their best throughout the day, but was still pleased they pulled it together enough to bring home the tournament championship. “If we’re going to compete with the best teams, our serving, hitting coverage and blocking have to get better,” Nesbit said. “However, I’m really proud of the girls for working through the adversity.”
Page 2 of 2 - Lady Green competes next at Larned on Tuesday.