Punchers win regional crown

LANDER – The Big Piney volleyball team swept its competition en route to winning the 2A West Regional Championship over the weekend in Lander.

The Punchers beat Rocky Mountain, Kemmerer and Greybull to win the crown.

"Regionals was incredible," senior Grace Tanner said. "We swept the entire tournament, winning it in nine games. We worked hard as a team and our aggression was unstoppable."

The Punchers will now head to the state championships, in Casper, as the top seed out of the West. Big Piney will begin the state tournament at 6 p.m. Thursday against Niobara County, the fourth-place finisher out of the East region.

At the regional tournament, Big Piney started strong to beat Rocky Mountain convincingly, 25-16, 25-17 and 25-15.

In the semifinals, Big Piney squared off against a Kemmerer squad who beat the No. 2 team out of the southwest, Shoshoni, 3-1, in the first round.

The Punchers beat Kemmerer 25-11, 25-19 and 25-13 to reach the finals.

The championship match featured the 2A southwest and northwest conference champions, Big Piney and Greybull.

Greybull entered the match with a 22-4 overall record, but it couldn't stop the Punchers from winning their ninth straight game. Big Piney won the championship, 25-19, 25-19 and 25-23.

"Hard work, believing in each other and the want to win is what took this team to the top at Regionals," Big Piney Head Coach Kim Tanner said. "Even when they got behind, they never questioned their ability to come back and make it happen."

In the third-place match, Wind River beat Lovell in three games, 25-17, 25-21 and 25-22. Both of those teams also qualified for state. Wind River is on the same side of the bracket as Big Piney and will take on Wright in the first round.

Lovell will play the East region's champs, Sundance, in the first round while Greybull takes on Bighorn.

The semifinals are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday and the championship match will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday.

"I believe we are successful because we work hard for everything we get and we work well together!" senior Libby Runyan said. "I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to be playing by my side! Thank you to everyone for all their support, and we hope to see you at state!"


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