DEPUE — The Putnam County volleyball team continues to improve, but Wednesday night the young Lady Panthers fell to a veteran Woodland squad 25-18, 25-20 in semifinal action of the Tri-County Tournament.
With the loss, the No. 4-seeded Lady Panthers will play in the third-place match Saturday against the loser of tonight’s Midland-Marquette match, while the top-seeded Lady Warriors advance to the title match.
Woodland was never able to get a ton of breathing room against the Lady Panthers but got enough to stay out in front throughout the match.
“We played better tonight,” Woodland coach Betty Lowe said. “We had to be because (Putnam County) was better than they were (Monday) night, too. We struggled to hit the corners all night and down the line and they were open, but we struggled there. We didn’t hit many, but thank you Cheyenne Meredith for hitting that final one to end the match.”
The Lady Warriors may not have had any big runs, but they did have a 7-2 run in the opening game for a 17-11 lead.
From there, the teams were trading two points for every one as Woodland closed out the opening set.
“We talked to the girls about starting the game off strong,” Lady Panthers coach Amy Kreiser said. “We finish well, but we need to avoid the starts that we have. Woodland had one decent run it seemed like and that was enough to keep us out of reach. We are a young team and we’re getting better, but we have to be consistent and avoid those types of starts.”
Game 2 was similar to the first as the Lady Warriors broke an early tie by going on a 7-1 run to take an 11-4 lead.
The Lady Panthers slowly crept back into the game with the help of junior middle hitter Taylor Erjavsek’s big kills and timely tips to pull PC within four at 13-9.
“Taylor is a really solid and smart player out there,” Kreiser said. “She really understands the game and when to terminate the ball and when to tip, and that really helped keep us close.”
Sophomore Kirsten Davis got a big block before an Erjavsek tip and an Annie Miller ace made it a 20-18 PC deficit.
A couple of hitting errors from the Lady Panthers followed by kills from Kassidy Limpling and Meredith gave the Lady Warriors the second game and the match to advance to the title match Saturday.
Putnam County was led by Erjavsek with eight kills, while Paige Griffith had 15 assists.
Hall def. DePue 25-13, 25-13
Vanessa Olivares had six assists, five aces, three kills and three digs to help the No. 9-seeded Lady Red Devils past the No. 10-seeded Lady Giants in a consolation match.
Hall (5-22) advances to play No. 6-seeded Roanoke-Benson in a consolation semifinal at 6 tonight.
Cherokee Gillispie had four kills for Hall, while Valerie Hoffert added five aces.
Celia Villagomez and Alicia Marquez each had for kills for DePue.
Henry def. Lowpoint-Washburn 25-19, 25-13
Erica Briner put down nine kills to help the No. 7-seeded Lady Mallards beat the No. 8-seeded Lady Wildcats in a consolation match.
Henry advances to play No. 5-seeded Peoria Christian in a consolation semifinal at 5 tonight.
Amber Kereta had seven digs and four kills for Henry, while Amanda Kereta added nine assists and a pair of aces.
Brad Martin Sr. can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.