Pirettes mount comeback, beat Schulenburg in playoff-like match
Micah Weaver (24) and Devon Dylla throw up a block during the Poth Pirettes’ come-from-behind win over Schulenburg last Tuesday evening. (COURTNEY LASKOWSKI/Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com)
POTH -- It may only have been their third district match of the season, but it felt more like a region-final match in Poth last Tuesday, as the Pirettes mounted a thrilling comeback to defeat the Shorthorns of Schulenburg in five sets.
Schulenburg won the first point of the first match, but Poth came back to quickly tie things up. The back-and-forth play continued from there, and the teams were tied midway through the first set at 13-all. The struggle raged on as the teams neared the end, tied at 18-18, 21-21, and 22-22. Schulenburg caught some fire to close things out, however, and stunned the home crowd with a 25-22 win over Poth.
The Lady Horns carried the momentum into the second set, and led by the score of 6-1 before Pirette Head Coach Patti Zenner called a timeout. Poth won the next few points to make it a 6-4 contest, but Schulenburg came right back. The Lady Horns extended their lead in the set, leading by as many as 7, but Poth came on strong in the closing points to narrow the gap. A 22-15 lead for Schulenburg quickly became a 23-22 advantage, but the Lady Horns held on for the win, 25-23.
With two wins under their belts, the Lady Horns were looking confident as they took the court for what could be the final set of the match. On the other side, Poth was looking to get back on track, and it was a must-win situation for the Pirettes.
Poth picked up the first 2 points of the third set, and the home crowd showed its support. Schulenburg came back to tie things up, and the back-and-forth resumed. Pirette senior Micah Weaver took the serve as Poth later trailed by 1, and rattled off 4 points, putting the Pirettes back on top, 10-7. Schulenburg came right back to tie the set at 10-all, but that was as close as the Lady Horns would get. Poth soon caught fire and opened up to a 19-11 lead before giving the ball to the Lady Horns on a service error. Schulenburg managed to pick up a few more points along the way, but one final thundering kill from Weaver gave Poth a 25-15 win, and there appeared to be new life in the young Pirette team.
Sophomore Alyssa Kallies showed her vertical ability en route to scoring the first kill of the fourth set, though Poth began to slide from there. Schulenburg moved up by the score of 4-1, and began to swing things in its favor. Poth wasn’t backing down, though, and the Pirettes came right back to tie the set at 4-4. Tied at 10-10, 15-15, and again at 17-17, it appeared as though it was either team’s set to win. Schulenburg made some great plays at the net, and the Lady Horns led 19-17, prompting a Poth timeout. Zenner called another timeout 2 points later, as Schulenburg led 21-17, then 23-17. Poth made critical plays to pick up a pair of points, making it a 23-19 game, and forcing a Lady Horns timeout. Schulenburg responded with a point to lead 24-19, needing just a single point to win the match.
Single points don’t always come easy in Poth, though, and the Pirettes were doing what seemed impossible to many in the stands.
The Pirettes were holding off the Lady Horns.
The game was later tied at 24-24, and Schulenburg finally broke the serve to lead 25-24. Still needing just 1 point, the Lady Horns came up short, as Poth tied the set at 25. The Pirettes then took their first lead since the 1-0 start to the set, and needed just one more of their own at 26-25. The Blue and Gold got their way, and secured a set four win by the score of 27-25.
With two set wins apiece, the teams moved to a fifth and final set -- a race to 15.
Sophomore Shelby Yanta scored a kill to get things started, though Schulenburg came right back to even the score at 1-1. Weaver registered a kill to put the Pirettes back on top, and Poth got things rolling from there.
Schulenburg called a timeout with Poth leading 4-1, but it did little to slow the Pirettes, and Weaver scored yet another kill to make it 5-1. The serve went back and forth as the Lady Horns slowly started to climb back into the game, and Zenner stopped play when Schulenburg tied the score at 6-6. Poth won the next 3 points, and the Lady Horns called for another timeout. Although Schulenburg tried to keep it close, the Pirettes continued to score points, and soon found themselves on the verge of victory with a 14-9 advantage. As the crowd came to its feet, and fans held their index fingers toward the sky, Weaver delivered the goods, sealing the set and match with a vicious kill.
The Pirettes may have started slower than anyone wanted or expected, but in the end, Poth earned a 3-2 victory over Schulenburg.
“We struggled at times throughout the night, but just kept fighting,” Zenner later said. “I am especially proud of the way they held their composure and were able to do that. It was a big step for us. I hope we can continue to build on that to help us reach the goals that we have set.”
The Pirettes and Lady Horns will meet again Saturday, Oct. 13, in their second district matchup of the year. Should the teams continue to play at this level, it is likely they will reach postseason play, and could potentially meet a third time in regional playoff competition.