The Putnam County girls volleyball team talked about swinging aggressively Tuesday against Hall.
“We weren’t going to win sets on tipping,” Putnam County coach Amy Bell said. “We needed to swing. That’s where we were successful tonight. When our hits went up and were able to swing aggressively and hit the corners, good things happened.”
Behind aggressive attacks and a solid defense, the Panthers held off the Red Devils for a 25-20, 25-23 nonconference victory in Spring Valley.
“They’ve been a rival for a while. We battled back and forth, but we haven’t really won a lot against them, so it feels really nice to beat them,” Putnam County setter Tori Balma said. “Our defense was really good. Our defense picked up tips really well, and they read the block. We were swinging. Our outsides swung really well and we were being smart with the ball.”
The Panthers improved to 5-6-1 with their third consecutive victory.
“I think the girls need to keep playing together,” Bell said. “We’ve hopefully worked out some communication errors. They’re doing a lot better job meshing together with the lineup they’re in, so hopefully that carries into our conference match Thursday [against Lowpoint-Washburn].”
Putnam County appeared poised to take control of both sets, but Hall managed to respond each time and stay close.
In the first set, the Panthers extended their lead to 10-6 on an ace by Balma, but the Red Devils rallied to tie it at 10.
Hall stayed within three points until a kill by Ava Hatton and a set to the back corner by Balma gave PC a 20-16 lead.
The Red Devils rallied once more to within two points, but a kill by Hatton, an ace from Paityn Skinner and a pair of Hall errors closed out the set.
The Panthers raced to a 7-2 lead in the second set and led by as many as seven at 13-6 and 14-7, but Hall managed to rally to tie the set at 21 on three consecutive PC errors.
After a service error, Zofie Uzella put down a kill to give PC a 23-21 lead. The Panthers scored their final two points on a kill by Maggie Richetta and a Hall error.
“I’m really happy the girls pulled through at the end and didn’t take Hall’s runs lightly,” Bell said. “They took care of business when they needed to.”
Balma, Richetta and Uzella had five kills each for PC, while Hatton added four. Balma also had 14 assists and four digs, while Jaidin Trone led the Panthers with 12 digs.
Uzella, Trone, Skinner and Cate Trovero served two aces each.
Katelyn Pullam had 14 digs to lead the Red Devils (3-11), while Mia DeAngelo had six digs, four assists and three kills and Kierra Wozniak put down five kills.
“They’re fighters,” Hall coach Darcy Earley said. “They’re scrappy. They go after anything. They don’t want to lose. They’re tired of losing. They want to win. They’re doing anything and everything they can within their capabilities.”