Blues Go The Distance

Blues Go The Distance
Blues Go The Distance

ABOVE LEFT, PM sophomore outside hitter Sydney Taylor collects a dig while teammate Haley Coleman (3) and Narrows player Kennah Spencer
(6) watch during the Blues’ 3-0 home loss on Thursday. ABOVE, Fighting Blue junior middle blocker Kennedi Burton spikes the ball down as a Narrows player reacts. Burton recorded four kills. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photos)

Blues Go The Distance

PM JUNIOR libero Jaden Clark kneels for a dig while teammate Chloe Persinger (8) gives her space and Fighting Blues Kennedi Burton (5) and Grayson Shields (11) watch. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

Narrows Prevails In Marathon Five-Set Match

The Parry McCluer High School volleyball team has had a tough season on the court – but the Fighting Blues are still doing exactly what their nickname suggests.

The Blues went the distance against a talented Narrows team in Buena Vista on Thursday, battling into five sets before the Green Wave claimed a 3-2 win.

Halee Kast’s double-double of 16 kills and 18 assists propelled Narrows to a 25-16, 24-26, 25-16, 24-26, 15-10 victory. Emma Spencer notched 16 kills and four service aces for the Green Wave (7-6 overall, 5-2 district), while Cristin Blaker totaled 27 assists, Kennah Spencer added nine kills, and Audrey Riddle finished with a match-high six aces.

Chloe Persinger led the Blues (2-13, 2-5) with 14 kills and three aces. Jordan Dawson notched eight kills and one block, while Haley Coleman and Grayson Shields each tallied eight assists and Kennedi Burton recorded four kills.

Though the Blues couldn’t ultimately pull out the win, their effort drew praise from second-year head coach Shannon Stiltner.

“Tonight’s the first night that they all stepped up and played, so I’m proud of them,” Stiltner said. “Everybody was for everybody else; it was a team effort. … That was something that we worked on yesterday [in practice], too: we have to take care of team first before everything else.”

The Blues had to deal with some added adversity, as several players left the game due to injuries Although nothing appeared to be a long-term issue, Stiltner was forced to improvise during Thursday’s match – and her team responded admirably.

“They did it well [filling in for each other], too, so that’s a good thing,” the PM coach said. “I could put somebody in, and they still played well.”

Narrows used a 6-0 run to go in front 11-7 in the opening frame, and the Green Wave wouldn’t relinquish that advantage. Leading 18-15, Narrows reeled off another string of six unanswered points to put the set out of reach.

But the Blues bounced back quickly, soaring out to an 11-2 edge in the second stanza. Persinger, who tallied seven kills in the set, had several good swings early on.

Narrows gradually worked its way back, though, and the Green Wave would eventually go in front at 23-22. Two points later, Sydney Taylor served up a key ace to put the Blues up 24-23, and PM would claim the period in extras.

The biggest key for the Blues might have simply been their hustle, as PM’s defense constantly tracked down Narrows’ swings and extended a number of rallies.

“That was one of the things we didn’t do [before Thursday]. We didn’t chase the ball a lot; we didn’t hustle a lot,” Stiltner said. “And then here, you watched: we did chase the ball everywhere.”

The Green Wave pulled away from the Blues late in the third set, closing with a 10-2 stretch after PM had pulled within one (15-14) on a kill from Burton. Kast had six kills in the frame to lead the way.

Yet again, the Blues responded, leading almost from start to finish in the fourth stanza. PM nearly let it slip away, seeing a 24-20 lead evaporate, but Persinger’s third ace of the night secured the set at 26-24.

The fifth set was tied at 9-9 before Narrows took control. Two aces by Riddle and two kills by Emma Spencer allowed the Green Wave to close on a 6-1 spurt and avoid the upset.

Saylor Collins notched seven kills for Narrows, while Emma Spencer and Kennah Spencer each chipped in four aces. Shana Carter added three kills and two aces for PM.

While hoping that their minor wounds will heal up, the Blues will also look to build off of Thursday’s performance.

“I’m giving them a couple of days off to recuperate,” Stiltner said. “Whether we have the girls that are hurt or not, we’re going to work on Monday and try to keep this momentum going through the rest of the season.”

EM 3, PM 0

Eastern Montgomery defeated PM 3-0 in Elliston on Tuesday of last week, earning a 28-26, 25-14, 28-26 win.

Burton paced the Blues with two kills, two blocks and two aces. Persinger notched two kills and two aces, while Shields tallied three aces and two assists.

PM was slated to visit Bath County last night. The Blues hit the road again to face Covington this evening, and they’ll continue district action at Craig County on Tuesday, starting with junior varsity action at 5:30 p.m. on both nights.

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