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story.lead_photo.caption Bud Sullins/Special to Siloam Sunday Siloam Springs volleyball seniors, from left, Makenna Thomas and Hanna Fullerton look on as senior teammate Clara Butler hits over Alma middle blocker Sidney Hatley during Thursday's 5A-West Conference match at Panther Activity Center. Alma defeated Siloam Springs 3-2.

Siloam Springs came agonizingly close to its first win of the season Thursday night, but upstart Alma had other plans.

The much-improved Lady Airedales held on for a 15-13 victory in the fifth set to win 3-2 (25-22, 19-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-13) and spoil the Lady Panthers' Senior Night at Panther Activity Center.

Senior Night was being held early because of the covid-19 pandemic, and the Lady Panthers were once again without several players due to quarantine, including three regular rotation players.

Nevertheless, the Lady Panthers scrapped and clawed and just came up short in the end.

"I was real proud of them," head coach Joellen Wright said. "Give it to Alma. They're improved from where they were last year, and they used our middle block really well. I mean we couldn't put a solid two hands on it."

Thanks to a five kills in game one from Lillie Warnock, Alma took a commanding 18-13 lead and went on to a 25-22 victory.

The Lady Panthers (0-7, 0-2 5A-West) rebounded in the second set, powered by kills from Clara Butler and Anna Wleklinski. After several Alma hitting errors and a Makenna Thomas kill, the Lady panthers led 24-17. Alma pulled within 24-19, but a Wleklinski kill evened the match 1-1.

Siloam Springs rolled out to an 18-14 lead in the third set, but Alma (3-2, 0-1) stormed back with an 11-4 run to close the set and take a 2-1 lead.

With game four tied 17-17, the Lady Panthers went on an 8-3 run to close out a 25-20 win and extend the match to five games.

In the fifth set, a surprise kill out of the back row from Micah Curry tied the match 6-6.

But Alma scored the next four points to pull ahead 10-6.

Siloam Springs battled back to pull within 11-10 after an ace from Maggie Torres, but Alma scored the next three points to go up 14-10.

Kills from Makenna Thomas and Jaedyn Soucie helped the Lady Panthers pull within 14-13, but Warnock recorded her final kill off the left side to end the match.

Warnock finished with 13 kills, while Lydia Swarnes had 35 digs to lead Alma defensively.

"Lydia Swarnes has been playing outstanding defense the whole match, but we weren't able to convert that offensively a lot," said Alma coach Kim Weaver. "Early in that fifth set we were able to get great transition opportunities and score. Our outside hitter Rebekah McIntosh came in with some big swings and the offense and the defense came together for us in a way that hadn't really happened yet in the match."

Thomas led Siloam Springs with 14 kills and 16 digs. Butler finished with nine kills and three blocks, while Wleklinski had nine kills and Soucie six kills.

Hannah Fullerton had 26 digs and three aces, Torres 14 digs and three aces and Curry 17 digs and one ace.

Mountain Home 3, Siloam Springs 0

The Lady Panthers were defeated 25-13, 25-11, 25-22 at The Hangar on Tuesday night in Mountain Home to open 5A-West Conference play.

Gracie Greer had four kills for Siloam Springs, while Makenna Thomas and Clara Butler each had three kills.

Hanna Fullerton had 14 digs, while Maggie Torres had six digs and three aces and Micah Curry five digs.

Up next

The Lady Panthers return to 5A-West Conference action Tuesday at Greenbrier.

Bud Sullins/Special to Siloam Sunday Siloam Springs senior Micah Curry, left, looks on as senior teammate Hanna Fullerton prepares to dig a ball during Thursday's 5A-West Conference volleyball match with Alma. Alma defeated Siloam Springs 3-2.

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