It's only fitting that Siloam Springs' most stirring volleyball rally came on the same night the Lady Panthers honors those fighting against breast cancer.
Siloam Springs rallied from a 2-1 deficit to come back and defeat Shiloh Christian 3-2 (25-14, 20-25, 11-25, 25-23, 15-9) on 'Dig Pink' night at the Panther Activity Center.
The comeback against the defending 4A state champions was a nonconference win, but it will go a long way toward the Lady Panthers' confidence moving forward according to coaches and players.
"I think it really shows us that we can come back from losses, and it was really good for that to be tonight because it shows that you can fight, that fighting really works," said senior team captain Chloe Price. "It's 'Dig Pink' and so I think it just boosted our confidence."
The Lady Panthers came out on fire and easily won the first set 25-14, but Shiloh Christian came back and won the next two 25-20 and 25-11. In game three, the Lady Saints found a groove in serve-receive and went on an 11-0 run which included five aces from star hitter Lexi Richards.
Facing a potential game four loss, the Lady Panthers took an 11-4 lead in game four, watched Shiloh Christian even the game back up in the middle of the match and the Lady Saints take a 19-17 lead.
Siloam Springs went on a 4-0 run, thanks to an ace from Ellie Lampton and a kill from Reigan Brown, to retake the lead 21-19. Shiloh Christian fought back to tie at 23-23, but a back row kill from Lampton set up game point and the Siloam Springs senior hitter blasted another kill to give the Lady Panthers a 25-23 win to send the match to a fifth set.
Siloam Springs jumped out to a 4-1 lead in game five, but Shiloh Christian came back and took a 9-8 lead after an ace from Jentry Lantzsch. It would be the last point the Lady Saints scored.
Lampton answered with another back row kill, and Katie Kendrick tipped one over the Shiloh Christian defense. Jael Harried slammed down a kill on an overpass, and Price served an ace for a 12-9 lead.
Kendrick killed another ball for a 13-9 lead and a Price ace set up match point. Kendrick's tip shot found the floor to give Siloam Springs the 15-9 win.
"It just builds their confidence, and it's one more five-set match that we can say we did it," said Siloam Springs coach Joellen Wright. "It looked questionable, but they were able to fight through the doubt and fight through the adversity of it all and step up and finish."
Lampton, despite playing with a back injury, had 22 kills to lead the Lady Panthers, along with eight digs and one ace.
Price had 11 kills, 10 digs and five aces, while Kendrick had nine kills and Brown five kills.
Kelsey Lewis led the Lady Panthers defensively with 26 digs and three aces, while Makenna Thomas had six digs and two aces. Mackenzie Cook finished with 11 digs, while Rachel Conrad had two solo blocks and four block assists.
Richards led Shiloh Christian (20-11) with 17 kills, 11 digs and eight aces. Karlie Ramsey had 14 kills, while Alex Bottorff had 14 digs, Lantzsch 20 assists and Hattie McDonald 15 assists.
"I go out and make our schedule like this for a reason," said Shiloh Christian coach Nathan Bodenstein. "We're a very small school, and Siloam's a great historical program, and a great program this year. I think that they have a chance at doing well in the 5A and maybe winning it. ... We had a five-setter last year actually too, which we lost as well."
Siloam Springs returned to action Tuesday night at Vilonia for a 5A-West Conference game. Results were not available at presstime. The Lady Panthers host Little Rock Christian on Thursday at the PAC.
"You can't take anybody for granted," Wright said. "You've got to respect all and fear none, and we're learning our motto as we go along. You can't take any plays off."
Lady Cat Invitational
Siloam Springs went 1-2 at the Lady Cat Invitational on Saturday in Conway.
The Lady Panthers lost 2-0 (25-20, 25-21) to Cabot, beat Brookland (25-12, 25-22) and lost to Beebe 2-1 (25-17, 15-25, 25-12).
Sports on 10/10/2018
Print Headline: Lady Panthers rally