On the court, North Adams downs Peebles in straight sets, gives Coach Ragan win #250 –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
There was volleyball to be played on the court, but last Thursday night in Peebles, there were many things more important than the match itself as the Peebles Lady Indians hosted the North Adams Lady Devils, the two teams renewing their annual “Volley For The Cure”, which rotates venues each season, this time coming to PHS.
This year’s event was to assist the family of Edie and Rocky Klickner. proprietors of the White Star Restaurant in Peebles. Edie was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and all of the proceeds from Thursday night’s event went to their family to help defray medical costs. A silent auction, t-shirt sales, concessions, and a regular auction were just some of the items on the schedule and the bidding as usual was very high, with a volleyball signed by the North Adams team going for $1370 and to top that, the ball signed by the Lady Indians fetching $1700. Both buys were from a combined effort of the North Adams and Peebles communities, once again showing their extreme generosity in helping those in need, raising a total of near $6,000 on the night.
“We’ve done this night with Peebles for several years now,” said Ragan. “We rotate it back and forth and it’s something that the kids and parents get excited about. It’s something that both communities have really been a part of.”
As far as the volleyball goes, the two teams were meeting for the only time this season, and for the visiting Lady Devils, it was a chance to recover from a hard-fought win over Lynchburg two nights prior, and for the Lady Indians it was an opportunity to pick up a big Southern Hills Athletic Conference win and snap the North Adams 60-game conference winning streak.
All in all, the match turned out to be rather anti-climactic to all of the earlier events, with the North Adams girls controlling play from start to finish, behind some outstanding play from senior outside hitter Charlee Louden, and taking the match in three sets, giving Coach Katie Ragan her 250th career win and extending the SHAC streak to 61 straight.
“Peebles is having a good season, they have a real good record, and they have won some good matches out of our conference,” said Coach Ragan in her post game radio interview. “They really have some nice young players.”
“You only get better by playing people who challenge you and our league keeps getting better and better.”
“I thought we did a good job of covering the court and the girls really hustled tonight,” continued Ragan. “All of our girls can serve and they all get after the ball, talk, and play defense. Tonight there were several plays where we had multiple girls on the floor and still managed to get the ball back over the net.”
The success began early for the Lady Devils as they raced to a 6-0 lead in the first set, behind the serves of Brooklyn Stout and a trio of Louden kills, who was right on target all night and finished with 22 kills in the match. After a Madison Pierce kill broke the string and gave the side out back to Peebles, North Adams seized it right back and ran off five Delaney Harper serves to stretch the lead out to 12-1 and force Peebles coach Rachel Sims to use a timeout.
The Lady Devils continued to roll, with Louden dominating at the net and classmate Sydney Kendall at the service line to push the advantage to 17-3. Peebles then showed their first spark of the set as a series of Kylie Sims serves combined with kills from Tatum Arey and Christian Reed closed the gap to 17-8.
The two sides traded points from that point on until a kill by freshman Wylie Shipley accounted for the final point in a 25-14 first set win for the Lady Devils.
After North Adams took a 4-0 lead in the second set, the Lady Indians used the serves of Baylee Justice and Hope Brown to stay close, trailing 10-7. The margin stayed between five and six points the rest of the set with a block by Josie Myers and a Sims kill pulling Peebles within 23-19, but the final two points, the last one on a service ace by Kendall, went to the visitors who took a much tighter second set, 25-19.
As they had the first two sets, the Lady Devils jumped out to a quick 12-3 lead in set three, rising the serves of Kendall and three more Louden spikes. With Sims back at the service line, Peebles reeled off four straight to cut the deficit, but Louden showed off her serving talent with five consecutive points, including two aces, to put her team on top 18-7.
That was a lead that North Adams was not going to relinquish as three service points from senior Abby Campton made it 23-11 and when two of the sets’ next three points went the way of the team wearing pink on this night, the SHAC winning streak was at 61 and the Lady Devils had taken the third set 25-12, and the match three sets to none.
“These seniors have been such a big part of the conference streak and it is important to them to keep it going this year,” said Ragan. “Last year’s senior group never lost a conference match and this year’s group want to match that feat.”
It was a memorable night for the senior Louden, who put together a stat line of 22 kills, 12 digs, three aces, and three assists. Setter Kendall contributed 32 assists, 15 digs, three aces, and a pair of kills, while libero Adison Wright had 18 digs. Ever-improving freshman Wylie Shipley added four blocks and three kills for the victorious Lady Devils, who improved to 13-3 with the win.
“Charlee was really hitting the ball well tonight,”added Coach Ragan. “She was really getting off the floor and finding the holes, swinging well.”