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Lady Pirates capture MEC volleyball title

by Tad Brewer
Landmark reporter

Entering their match against conference rival Savannah, Platte County needed a victory to become Midland Empire Conference Champions. The only MEC loss Platte County had suffered was to Lafayette and if they beat Savannah they would not have to share the title but would have sole possession of it.

“We weren’t about to share the title,” said head coach Kathy Hatfield. “We’re glad we had opportunity to win it outright.”

In game one against Savannah, senior Kecia Willoughby served five points in a row to break an 8-8 tie and moved Platte County to a 13-8 lead.

“It was a great string of serves,” Hatfield said. “[The serves] really helped put game one out of reach for Savannah.”

After the string of serves, sophomore Brandie Scott entered the game and gave the Lady Pirates their 14th and 15th points. The final score of game one was Platte County over Savannah 15-9.

Savannah started game two out with an early 4-3 lead. This lasted only until the Lady Pirates tied them up at five apiece. Then senior Megan Nichols entered the game and served five straight points of her own to give Platte County a 10-5 lead. Savannah was only able to pick up two more points before Willoughby served another stretch of five consecutive points. This gave Platte County the 15-7 victory.

“They really had trouble with our serving and it kept them from getting on the attack with their 6’2” and 6’ hitters,” said Hatfield. “They definitely had some size advantage on us.”

The Lady Pirates combined for 26 total good spikes and 14 kills on the night.

Nichols, senior Erin McPherson, junior Cassie Philipi, and sophomore Brea Schockey controlled the net for Platte County. Philipi had five total blocks and three ace blocks, Nichols had two ace blocks, and Schockey contributed one ace block.

“Her [Philipi] contribution in the middle has been great and just the boost we needed,” Hatfield said.

Junior setter Tara Porter had 7 assists to her teammates, and McPherson led the team with 18 good passes. Seniors Julie Cook and Jessica McCammon did a lot of passing and digging to help keep the string of service points.

“We played the game with a lot of passion and a lot of heart,” said Hatfield. “Determined to go after one of our top goals of Conference Champions and defending our title from last year.”

Earlier in the week, the Lady Pirates lost in two games to Kearney by scores of 15-11, 15-2.

In game one, McPherson had 10 serving points, 7 in a row, to mount a large 11-2 lead over Kearney. Kearney was able to build up 13 points to get the lead and to prevent the Lady Pirates form scoring the 4 points they needed to win. Despite having all good serves in game one, Platte County could just not get the four points they needed for the win.

Kearney dominated game two and played with the momentum on their side.

“We had good serves but just couldn’t win the rallies as Kearney hitters really got on fire,” Hatfield said. “We failed to block or dig effectively.”

McPherson led Platte County with 10 points, all of which came in game one. Nichols had all four kills on the night. Pirate blockers were able to split seven blocks among them, but it still was not enough to stop Kearney.

“We definitely should have finished them off in game one and had the momentum for game two, but didn’t do it,” said Hatfield.

Platte County could face Kearney again in the district championships if the Lady Pirates can win their first two games.

Platte County ended their regular season with a 6-1 conference record, and a 13-14-1 record overall for the season.