The Lady Tigers had a pair of home games last weekend against Burns and Saratoga to wrap up their conference schedule. As close as every set was, Lusk was unable to capture a victory.
Friday night against the fifth-ranked Lady Broncs (Wyopreps), the visitors got the upper hand with a quick 10-5 lead. They stretched the lead to 19-11 before Jessica Bruegger reeled off four straight service points. Bruegger, playing with the heaviest of hearts just two days after losing brother Colten in a vehicle accident, has been the Lady Tigers most consistent player over the past several weeks. Despite the emotions flowing through Tiger Gym, Burns was able to win the first set 25-19.
Sami Starkey pounded down a kill and three big serves as NCHS took the 10-6 second set lead. The visitors tied the set at 16 and again at 22 before Starkey again had success from the service line. The game was knotted at 25 before a Lady Bronc error gave NCHS the upper hand. On the next play, Bruegger stuffed a big hit at the net for the 27-25 win.
Kenzi Miller kept the Lady Tigers in the third set with her serving and the match was tied at 11 after her third in a row. The set was tight all the way- tied at 16, 17 and 18 before the Lady Broncs limited their errors enough for the 25-22 win.
All the wind had been sucked out of the NCHS sails as Burns took the lead in the fourth set and never let Lusk get within five points. They led 14-6 before pulling away 25-11 and the 3-1 SEWAC victory.
On Saturday, Saratoga came to Lusk for the final conference game of the regular season. Regardless of how the game turned out it was already determined that NCHS would be in the pigtail game on Oct. 15. The Lady Tigers came out looking like a confident winning team as the set was tied at seven early. Kiffani Skrukrud served Lusk to a 12-7 lead, but the Lady Panthers fought back to tie it at 14. NCHS had Saratoga flustered and was clicking on all counts for the 25-18 win.
The second set was again tied at seven before the visitors calmed down and took the 15-10 lead. Saratoga was able to limit their errors despite poor serving, and flipped the first set score to tie the match. In the third, NCHS took the 8-6 lead after Hailey Bruegger pounded a face shot into an unlucky Lady Panther. It apparently woke up the team as they took control 14-12 and won by another 25-18 score.
The fourth set NCHS led the entire way but allowed the visitors to hang around close enough for discomfort. Lexie Dockery served up three in a row and NCHS led 16-7, but mental errors by the home team let Saratoga creep back in. After they tied it at 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26, Lusk got a break on a mis-serve before Kassidy Miller made a nice tip block to seal the game at 28-26 and set up a fifth set.
Lusk jumped out to a fast 9-2 lead behind Jayci Shoults’ hot serving hand, the junior accounted for five straight before a timeout and two more after the quick break. A Starkey kill moved the lead to 12-5 and the loyal NCHS fans were rocking Tiger Gym. Suddenly all four wheels on the wagon came off at once and the game was inconceivably tied at 13. The Lady Panthers had stolen the momentum and the Lady Tigers most difficult of weeks came to an end as the visitors won the fifth set 17-15.
NCHS STATS: H. Bruegger 18 kills; Starkey 17 kills; J. Bruegger 12 kills, 6 stuff blocks; Ka Miller 12 kills, 3 blocks; Shoults 29 assists; Dockery 21 digs; Ke Miller 13 digs.
The Lady Tigers finish the regular season with home games Friday against Newcastle (4 p.m.) and Saturday is senior day. Lingle-Ft Laramie visits Tiger Gym (1 p.m.) as NCHS will be honoring the five seniors and their parents. NCHS will travel Monday to either Pine Bluffs or Saratoga for the 2A East Regional pigtail game. If Lusk wins they will head to Regionals in Burns next Friday morning.
For the complete article see the 10-10-2012 issue.
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