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Pierce City claims district volleyball title Verona falls in semi-finals

Thursday, October 25, 2012

(Photo)
District champions. The Pierce City Lady eagles claimed the Class 1, District 9 championship on Oct. 23. Pictured above, from left, are: Laney Parrigon, Christine Younker, Madison Flummerfelt, Shania Hogan, Rebecca Hatfield, Amber Wagner, Brianna Zebert, Krishna Merriman, Allie Creed, Jenny Kaiser and Courtney Zebert. [Times Photo by Jared Lankford]
The top-seeded Pierce City Lady Eagles volleyball team (21-9-4) won the Class 1, District 9 tournament on Oct. 23 with a 25-17, 25-9 decision over the second-seeded Billings Lady Wildcats (19-3-1).

The front line duo of Christine Younker and Krishna Merriman dominated the field in the semi-finals and championship match.

Younker and Merriman combined for 24 kills, five blocks and four assists.

(Photo)
Driving force. Verona's Amanda Mullen powers the volleyball over the net during the Lady Wildcats semi-final game against Billings. [Photo by Stacy Stevenson]
While the talented tandem was the most visible attacking force for the Lady Eagles, it was the team effort that stuck out in the coach's mind Pierce City.

"I am so proud of the way we handled ourselves tonight," said Pierce City coach Allison Davis. "Our back line was so effective at digging up the ball and setting it to the net. Brianna Zebert had a tremendous night passing the ball."

Zebert collected 15 assists in the championship and four aces on the night.

(Photo)
Serves up. Rebecca Hatfield puts the ball in play during the Oct. 23 district volleyball tournament. [Photo by Stacy Stevenson]
Earlier in the evening, in the semi-final, Pierce City defeated Miller 25-11, 25-11.

The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the first set behind three service points from Zebert, five points from Rebecca Hatfield and four points from Merriman.

The undersized Lady Cardinals narrowed the gap to 19-10 but four service points from Courtney Zebert sealed the first set victory.

Miller hung tough to start the second set taking a 6-5 lead. The Lady Eagles countered with a 12-3 run, including a 5-0 spurt to rattle the Lady Cardinals' confidence.

A 7-3 run completed the Pierce City victory

Verona

In the other semi-final match, Billings defeated the third-seeded Verona Lady Wildcats (13-13-3) 25-12, 25-23 to advance to the championship game.

Billings used nine consecutive service points from Olivia Fabro to blow open the first set and cruise to victory.

The second set was more of a battle.

A blowout looked likely when Billing jumped out to quick 3-0 lead. Verona responded with a 3-0 counter-punch and both teams began a back-and-forth battle.

The game was tied seven times and featured eight lead changes.

Billings found breathing room with 4-0 run to take lead 18-14. However, a kill by Amanda Mullen and two Jessica Youngberg service points quickly tightened the match.

Billings would hold on to win 25-23.

"I was really happy with our effort and the way we fought back in the second match," said Verona coach Brad Stewart. "We missed a couple of chances to get the lead back. We had three seniors (Jordyn Tuten, Michelle Landeros and Taylor Pinkly) play their last match and we will miss them next year."

Mullen finished the game with seven kills and three blocks. Pinkly added two kills and 12 digs, and Shelby Barsotti chipped in two kills and 11 digs.

Championship

Fans filled the gymnasium for the championship game between Pierce City and Billings creating an electric atmosphere.

Both teams traded 3-0 runs to start the game. Three points by Merriman broke a 5-5 tie and a 4-0 run with Jenny Kaiser serving propelled the Lady Eagles to the 25-17 victory.

Pierce City raced to a 10-0 lead to take control of the second set. Brianna Zebert severd nine-consecutive points to aid the run.

Merriman and Younker killed all the Billings rallies in route to a 25-9 victory.

"We played with heart and emotion tonight," said Davis. "We are a tough team to beat when we show this kind of effort."

The Lady Eagles face Lockwood in the regional playoff round on Saturday, Oct. 27 in Rich Hill. Game time has yet to be announced.



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