By Christy Sheets
The Wallace Wildcats competed in the Perkins County Triangular on Tuesday, Sept. 8. The Cats first opponent was the Hitchcock County Falcons. The Wildcats reminded the Falcons what Cats do to Birds, as they defeated their opponent in straight sets 25-19 and 25-20.
In the first set, when this reporter arrived, the Cats led the Falcons, but the Falcons refused to give up and they battled back to 19 to 23.
This forced Coach Rohde to call a time out. After time was called the Cats were driven to end the set, and senior Katie West, showing a great deal of senior leadership, helped score the last two points on a kill and then a block to end the set 25-19.
The second set, the Falcons wanted revenge, after they regained possession of the ball the Lady Cats trailed 2 to 7, forcing Coach Rohde to spend another time out.
With some encouragement from the bench the momentum changed on a tip from junior Shanice Harris, and the Cats clawed their way into within one. Last week’s points-leader, Laura O’Brien gave the team the lead after a four-point service run, forcing the Falcons to call time out.
It was then seniors Jena Aylward and West who paired up for a series of blocks and kills to give the Cats a 23 to 17 lead.
The Falcons battled to stay in the game, fighting off two game points, but the Cats were just too strong closing the set 25 to 20.
Leading the team offensively against the Falcons was Aylward with 8 points, followed by O’Brien with 7 points (1 ace). West had 4 points, junior Katelynn Hild (1 ace) and Harris each had 2 points (1 ace), and junior Whitney Smith (1 ace) had 1 point. Leading the team with set assists was Hild with 12, followed by O’Brien with 6.
Defensively, Aylward, led the team with 7 kills and 3 blocks, followed closely by West with 6 kills and 5 blocks. Harris had 2 kills 1 block, and Smith had 2 kills.
When asked about the match, Coach Rohde said, “We played really well, and we were blocking like maniacs.” He added, “Hitchcock County is a tough team, and they made us play tough.”
The Lady Cats then had to face the hard-hitting Plainsmen of Perkins County. The cats lost the first set 22-25, but rallied to win the next two sets 25-15 and 25-21 to win the match.
In the first set the Wildcats seemed evenly matched as the teams were tied at 5 all, but it wasn’t long until the Plainsmen took control of the set 18 to 12, forcing Rohde to call his Ladies to the bench for a discussion.
The Cats rallied behind a 3-point service run by Smith, to bring the score to 21 to 23. Unfortunately, the Plainsmen regained possession, and although the Cats fought off one set point, the Plainsmen won the set 22 to 25.
The second set, the Wildcats were ready to fight, and on a 5-point service run by Harris, the Cats took the lead 8 to 5, forcing Perkins County to call a time out.
As play resumed, the Cats continued to dominate the court, forcing the Plainsmen to call yet another time out at 16 to 8. The Cats appeared to have the set in the bag at 22 to 10, but the Plainsmen were determined to finish the game in two sets battling back to 23 to 14, and forcing Rohde to spend a time out. After the pep talk the girls were ready to close the set, winning 25 to 15.
The third set, neither team was willing to go peacefully into the night, as the game started off with the teams tied at six.
The Cats managed to pull away behind the 6-point service run of Smith, for the Perkins County coaches to call a time out at 14 to 6.
The Cats, brimming with intensity, didn’t let this slow them down, battling for every point, forcing another Plainsmen timeout at 20 to 13.
Coach Rohde yelled in the huddle, “Who wants to win?” and all the Cats responded, “We do!!”
Perkins County returned determined to defend their home court, rallying back to 21 to 24, forcing the Wildcats to return to the bench for a chat with the coaches. Senior Katie West nailed the final shot for the Cats, giving them the win 25 to 21
Leading the team offensively against Perkins County was Smith with 13 points (4 aces), followed by West, Hild (1 ace), and O’Brien (2 aces) each with 5 points, and Harris and Aylward each with 4. Leading the team with set assists was Hild with 14, followed by O’Brien with 12.
Defensively, Harris had 9 kills and 1 block. Aylward had 7 kills and 2 blocks, Smith had 7 kills, West had 3 kills and 2 blocks, and O’Brien had 1 kill.
When asked about the match, Coach Rohde said, “We had a great night.” He added, “When you play great teams, like the two we played tonight, it forces our team to rise to the occasion.”
The Lady Cats will travel to Hayes Center to play in their triangular on Tuesday, Sept. 15, and on Friday, Sept. 18, the Cats will face the Stapleton Broncos at home starting at 4:30.