The North Platte Community College Lady Knights (16-8) volleyball team fell Monday night to the Divison I #20 Northeastern Junior College Plainswomen (16-5) in a five set thriller that lasted two hours and thirty minutes. The Lady Knights would drop the first two sets before winning the third and fourth set before finally falling in the fifth set (25-27, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20, 9-15).
The Lady Knights would open up the first set of the night fast as they would jump out to a 10-6 lead over the Plainswomen. The Plainswomen would battle back to take a 16-18 lead. The Lady Knights would then score outscore the Plainswomen to tie the game at 22-22 and force a NJC timeout. After the Plainsmen scored a point, the Lady Knights would score two of their own to earn the first set point forcing another Plainswomen timeout. The teams would exchange points as the game again became tied at 25-25. The Lady Plainswomen were able to earn a side out and then had an ace serve to close out the first set 25-27.
At the start of the second set the Plainswomen would continue to hold the momentum as they jumped out to a three point lead. The Plainswomen would maintain the lead throughout the early stages of the set with their largest lead at 9-13. The Lady Knights would string together a few points of their own to tie the game at 14-14 and then take their first lead of the game at 16-15.
The teams would trade side outs before NJC would tie the game at 18-18 and then take a lead at 18-20 to force a timeout by North Platte. The Lady Knights would tie the set at 22-22 to set up another exciting finish. NJC would get a side out and score another point to earn a set point opportunity and force a timeout by the Lady Knights. Samantha Kennedy would slam home a spike before the Plainswomen would end the set 23-25.
The Plainswomen would start the third set by opening up a 4-9 lead on the Lady Knights and forcing North Platte into a timeout. The Lady Knights would slowly chip away at the lead and would eventually tie the game at 12-12. The Lady Knights and Plainswomen would trade points and leads throughout the middle stages of the set before North Platte was able to race out to a 22-18 advantage.
The Plainswomen would score two straight points and then the Lady Knights would score two straight to earn a set point at 24-22. The Plainswomen would then score three straight to force a North Platte timeout at 24-23. Samantha Kennedy would end the third set for the Lady Knights as she blocked NJC’s spike attempt to win 25-23.
The Lady Knights and Plainswomen would start the fourth set exchanging points before the Lady Knights were able to open up a lead with the largest being 20-15. The Plainswomen would then score three straight points prompting a timeout from North Platte. The Lady Knights and Plainswomen would trade the next four points before the Lady Knights would score the final three points of the set to win 25-22 to force a decisive fifth set.
The Plainswomen would draw first blood in the fifth set as they scored the first three points. The Lady Knights would respond with three straight points before NJC answered with four straight to take a 3-7 lead. The Lady Knights would cut the lead to 7-8 and force the Plainswomen to take a timeout. The Plainswomen would then score the next five points to take a 7-13 lead. The two teams would exchange the final four points of the set to give the Plainswomen the victory 9-15.
Samantha Kennedy led the Lady Knights with 19 kills and Sandrina Hallahan had 14. Shannon Liewer had 25 digs and Joli Hopping had 31 assists to pace the Lady Knights.
“It was a great night (with the Pink Out),” said head coach Sally Thalken. “Our kids played really hard and it was a good volleyball game tonight. In the end we weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be in the fifth set.”
On Wednesday the Lady Knights will honor their five sophomore; Sabrina Hallahan of Brush, Colo., Shannon Liewer of Imperial, Sandrina Hallahan of Brush, Colo., Jacee Kershaw of Culbertson and Laura Beckman of Julesburg, Colo. as they take on Southeast Community College. The game will start at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1410. The Lady Knights defeated the Lady Storm in four sets earlier this year.