THERMOPOLIS – Demonstrating tenacity and endurance, the Lady Punchers advanced through tough competition at the Bobcat Invitational hosted by Thermopolis on Oct. 1-2 to win both games in bracket play.
The tournament opened with pool play on Friday and early Saturday morning where Big Piney took on Rocky Mountain, Encampment, Little Snake River and Burlington.
The Punchers’ performance placed them in the Silver Bracket Saturday afternoon. Squaring off against Farson in the first bracket match, the Lady Punchers pulled out a 2-1 win.
In the Silver Bracket championship round, Big Piney found itself pitted against Rocky Mountain for a second go-round. The Grizzlies beat the Punchers in two close sets earlier in the tournament.
Undeterred, the Lady Punchers pulled themselves up by the bootstraps after a grueling weekend to score a 2-1 victory over Rocky Mountain.
Big Piney finished the weekend with two wins, two draws and two losses.
Head Coach Kinsy Voss was proud of the Lady Punchers’ performance in bracket play.
“We beat both teams (in bracket play) in three great sets where all the teams fought hard,” she said. “We came out with the wins and I couldn’t be prouder of how much the girls dug deep. Lady Red kept their mentality of one point at a time and came back from a deficit to win the championship game.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 28, the Punchers took on Pinedale for the cross-county rivalry game. Pinedale pulled off the win, 3-0, but not without a fight from Big Piney.
Tournament action opened with an early-morning match against Rocky Mountain. Pool play featured two sets played to 21 points, and the Grizzlies edged out Big Piney by 21-18 in both sets.
Big Piney finished the game with 21 kills, 16 assists, three blocks, 16 digs and four aces.
Big Piney battled Encampment in the following game. The Lady Punchers took the win in the first set, 21-17, before falling in the second set, 21-11.
The Lady Punchers tallied five kills, four assists, one block, 10 digs and four aces.
Pool play resumed with a match against Little Snake River. The Rattlers won both sets, 21-12 and 21-8. Big Piney played six kills, four assists, one block, 11 digs and one ace.
The Lady Punchers rounded out pool play with a game against Burlington on Saturday morning. The teams each won a set (individual set scores for games played Saturday were not available at press time).
The Lady Punchers totaled eight kills, six assists, three blocks, 14 digs and four aces against Burlington.
Entering bracket play, Big Piney challenged Farson in the first round. The Lady Punchers defeated Farson in a tie-breaking third set for a 2-1 win.
Big Piney tallied up 27 kills, 20 assists, three blocks, 55 digs and an ace.
In the Silver Bracket championship game, the Punchers and Grizzlies played to a 1-1 stalemate. Big Piney scored the win in the third set to take the overall victory, 2-1.
The Lady Punchers delivered 17 kills, 15 assists, four blocks, 60 digs and a pair of aces.
The Lady Wranglers scored the first points to take an early lead. Pinedale hit the net returning a serve from senior Jocie Banks for Puncher points 5 and 6. Fellow senior Lena Hatch blocked the ball, tying the match at point 7.
Pinedale pulled ahead and remained in the lead, though Big Piney fought to close the gap at the end of the first set. Senior Hanna Hansen slammed over a kill assisted by Banks. Sierra Keiter, also a senior, delivered a kill for point 12. Junior Hannah Runyan played a pair of blocks for points 14 and 15. The final score stood at 25-16 in Pinedale’s favor.
The second set turned into a point-for-point heater. Hatch hit over the first point for Big Piney.
Hansen delivered a kill for point 2. Keiter shot over a pair of kills, taking Big Piney to point 5. Pinedale found itself caught in the net returning a set of serves by junior Brynne Hoffman. Sambrano scored point 12 to tie the match a second time.
Pinedale pulled ahead until a kill by Keiter put the Punchers back in the lead at point 17. Keiter played a block for point 18. Junior Shelby Guest bumped the ball up to Banks who set it for Keiter to deliver a kill and point 19.
The final score stood at 25-19 in Pinedale’s favor.
Pinedale pulled out all the stops in the third set, winning, 25-15. Hansen slammed over a kill, assisted by Banks, for point 2. Brynne Hoffman hit over point 5. Keiter delivered a kill for point 7.
Runyan aced point 9 and Banks served up an ace for point 12. Keiter scored a hit for point 13, Hansen sent over a kill for point 14 and Runyan blocked Pinedale’s hit for point 15.