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Troy ousts Prairie

— Facing elimination after falling to Troy on Oct. 21, the Prairie High School volleyball squad defeated Lapwai and Potlatch handily last Wednesday night, Oct. 23, before meeting its match — again — last Thursday at the 1AD1 District II volleyball tournament last week. Troy knocked the Pirates out in four games (25-19, 25-19, 22-25, 25-15) on Oct. 24.

Troy took an early lead, 12-3, last Thursday night, until PHS hitter Leah Holthaus’s serve gave the Trojans pause.

After Pirates hitter Krystin Uhlenkott delivered a kill down the sideline, Troy committed back-to-back errors and called timeout at 12-10.

Prairie closed the gap to 12-11, and on Troy’s ensuing serve, a lengthy rally point ended with a spike by Trojan freshman Abbey Blum.

Prairie later won a long rally to close within 19-17. But Troy kept ticking and even shrugged off blistering kills by Uhlenkott and Shayla Vonbargen late in the first game.

The second game saw Troy overcome an early PHS lead to tie at 17-17, after which the Trojans eight of the next ten points.

Prairie led the third game until Troy’s Brittany Hosley ran off five in a row on her serve, moving the Trojans from a 10-8 deficit to a 13-10 lead.

Prairie bounced back to tie at 13-13, and pushed back into the lead, 21-17, with Vonbargen serving.

When Hosley returned to the service line, Troy rallied again, closing the gap to 23-22 before Holthaus shut the comeback down with a hard hit.

But the fourth game was all Troy, as Blum scored for 8-3 on a hit that landed right on the back boundary. Troy advanced to 11-4, then 16-8, then 18-9 — with Uhlenkott scoring two kills and a block during Prairie’s drought.

Uhlenkott delivered another kill and took over serving trailing by 12 and facing match point. The Pirates scored three in a row including a kill and a block by Ulmer, but a comeback at that point would have required a minor miracle; divine intervention was not apparent.

Earlier rounds

On Oct. 23, the Pirates met little resistance from Lapwai; Prairie won in three games (25-19, 25-15, 25-22).

Prairie kept rolling until the third game against Potlatch (25-22, 25-11, 26-24).

Potlatch grabbed and gave away a sizable lead during the first game, as Pirates senior Leah Holthaus rattled off four points in a row with her serve to turn a 7-10 deficit into an 11-10 lead. Prairie pulled away with Kamiah transfer Kyndahl Ulmer at the line, as Ulmer’s serves forced a Potlatch timeout with Prairie leading 19-16.

Potlatch’s offense ground to a halt early in the second game, as Prairie took an 8-3 lead and inflated it to 18-9 with Holthaus running off eight in a row.

But late in the third game, Potlatch led 20-17 before Prairie sophomore Krystin Uhlenkott rattled off three in a row. Potlatch tied it at 21-all, then marshalled a 23-21 lead. Ulmer’s serve lifted Prairie back into a tie. Hailey Danly took over at 24-24, and with a kill from Shayla VonBargen, finished the match.

Uhlenkott had 30 kills (4.3 per game) on the day, along with 32 digs. Holthaus (20 kills) and Danly (37 assists) also featured prominently on offense.

The Pirates finished with a 20-6 overall record and went 10-2 in the Whitepine League.

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