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PHS locks up league title, top seed for tourney

Whitepine League volleyball

Prairie hadn’t lost to a Whitepine League foe since Troy tipped the Pirates on Sept. 23, 2014, and that streak survived the toughest week of this regular season.

PHS emerged unscathed from a stretch of four league matches in four nights last week, topping Troy (25-22, 25-14, 21-25, 25-13) and Genesee (12-25, 25-9, 25-22, 25-22) in four games apiece before mowing down Potlatch (25-9, 26-24, 25-15) and Clearwater Valley. (25-7, 25-6, 25-11) during a tri-match last Saturday, Oct. 10.

On net, Prairie’s unbeaten record has the Pirates far enough ahead of the two three-loss teams, Troy and Genesee, that even an unexpected loss at fourth-place Lapwai on Oct. 13 could not have taken the district tournament top seed away from PHS.

Prairie’s regular season will come to a close on Thursday, Oct. 15, against Grangeville, and while the 1AD1 District II tournament will open at noon on Saturday, Oct. 17, at the LCSC Activity Center in Lewiston, the Pirates have secured a first-round bye.

Prairie’s first tournament opponent will be the winner of the fourth-vs.-fifth seeds match, which will pit Lapwai against Potlatch.

Genesee and Troy have first-round matches against Kamiah and Clearwater Valley, with the Kubs’ and Rams’ seeds riding on the outcome of their Oct. 13 regular season finale at KHS.

The first of the district’s elimination matches will be played at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. next Monday, Oct. 19, with the consolation final to be played at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 20. At least two Whitepine League teams will qualify for state, with the district’s champion and runner-up both gaining automatic bids. Another WPL team will emerge from the consolation bracket to face elimination at a play-in game in Wallace. The district championship match is slated for 6 p.m. Oct. 21.

Prairie holds off Troy, Genesee

COTTONWOOD — “We started off a little rough against Genesee,” Prairie coach Cheyenne Hudson said. “We kept hitting into the block, and if we didn’t hit into the block, we’d hit out.”

The trouble followed from missed serves and bad passes. “We were kind of killing ourselves a little bit,” Hudson said. “I told the girls ‘We’re allowed to play five, and if we pull together, we’ll be fine.’ And that’s what they did. ... There were times in the third and fourth games that we trailed by three or four points.”

As the later games tightened up, the Pirates plugged the leaks in their play.

“I tell the girls, ‘You’re going to make mistakes, that’s what this game is about. All it is is who makes less mistakes,” Hudson said. “When we put the ball over the net, it allows us to set back up, and gather ourselves and play some defense. And our defense has been really, really good all year long.”

She credited defense for the win over Troy as well.

Against Genesee, five Pirates recorded double-digit digs as the team totaled 70 in the face of Genesee’s attack. Krystin Uhlenkott and Shayla VonBargen added 17 kills apiece.


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