Punchers clinch perfect conference record

ETHETE – The Lady Punchers commanded the No. 1 seed in the 2A Southwest Quadrant with an undefeated conference record following a decisive win over Wyoming Indian High School on Thursday, Oct. 15.

Both teams pulled out all the stops in the high-stakes match as the Chiefs battled to unseat the Punchers with Regionals two weeks away.

The Lady Punchers stayed strong and struck back, scoring crucial points at the end of each set to take the victory, 3-0.

“We finished our conference season undefeated,” said head coach Kinsy Voss. “Wyoming Indian is a disciplined team and they made us earn our points. To pull off the win, we had to take control of their defense.”

The Lady Punchers took the initiative in a heater first set with two kills by junior Hannah Runyan and a pair of hits delivered by senior Hanna Hansen.

Wyoming Indian edged up and tied the set at 6 points. Hansen spiked over a kill, placing the Punchers back in the lead.

Pulling ahead once more, Wyoming Indian took control until senior Sierra Keiter smashed over a kill, assisted by senior Jocie Banks. Junior Shelby Guest aced point 9.

Keiter broke the stalemate, firing off hits for points 11 and 12. The Punchers remained in the lead with a pair of kills by Hansen.

Wyoming Indian recaptured the lead at point 17. Junior Brynne Hoffman bumped the ball up to Banks, who set it up for Keiter to wind up a kill and tie the set.

Wyoming Indian pushed ahead at point 18. Big Piney recovered the lead with kills by Keiter, Hansen and senior Ceci Sambrano.

Senior Lena Hatch slammed over a hit, assisted by Sambrano, for game point at 25-21.

Buoyed by the win, Big Piney won the second set by a significant margin, 25-15.

Runyan set the rhythm with two kills. Sambrano scored the next two offensive points.

Hansen aced her serve for point 10. Banks tapped over point 13. Runyan slammed over two kills, followed by an ace from Banks.

Keiter shot over a kill, assisted by Sambrano, for point 17. Runyan kept the momentum going offensively. Wyoming Indian tangled with the net attempting to return a serve by Keiter for point 23. Runyan slammed over a kill for point 24. Wyoming Indian served the ball into the net with game point going to Big Piney.

The third set turned into a heater. Big Piney took an early lead, with points scored by Keiter, Hansen and Runyan.

Wyoming Indian snuck up from behind to take the lead at point 9. A hit by Keiter and a bump from Guest tied the set at 10 points. Keiter shot over a kill, assisted by Banks, for point 11. Guest delivered point 12 with a dig.

Wyoming Indian tied the set again at point 13. Hatch swung over a hit, putting Big Piney back in the lead at point 14. Kills by Hansen and Hatch, assisted by Banks, maintained the Lady Punchers’ momentum until Wyoming Indian caught up at 16 points.

Banks broke the stalemate, tapping over point 17. Big Piney took control of the court with kills slammed over by Keiter and Runyan until Wyoming Indian managed to meet the Punchers in scoring at point 24.

Runyan delivered a kill and a defensive block for match point at 26-24.

Guest, Hansen and Keiter each finished the game with 17 digs. Runyan led with 11 kills. Banks played 32 assists. Defensively, the team played four assisted blocks and one single block by Runyan.

The Lady Punchers look forward to a busy weekend featuring three non-conference games. On Thursday, Oct. 21, Big Piney travels to take on Kemmerer.

Friday, Oct. 22, is Senior Night against Lyman’s junior varsity squad with senior recognition at 5:45 p.m. followed by the varsity game at 6 p.m.

The Lady Punchers wrap up the weekend with an away game against Shoshoni on Saturday.