OGALLALA — North Platte wrapped up their regular season with a win at Prairie View Gymnasium on Tuesday.
The Lady Dawgs outlasted Ogallala in the pair’s second five-set thriller of the season, snapping a two-game losing streak against the Indians and spoiling their senior night in the process.
"I told the girls we probably could’ve won that game an hour and a half ago, but it wouldn’t have been as satisfying as winning by two points in the fifth set," North Platte head coach Clancy Hammond sighed in relief.
Led by a collective effort that included 35 digs from Gracie Haneborg and a combination of six aces, seven kills and over 20 assists from Peyton Neff, the Lady Dawgs righted what appeared to be déjà vu from a nightmare loss on Sept. 17.
In that loss against Ogallala at the Dawg House in North Platte, the Lady Dawgs had won the first two sets before losing the next three against the Indians. On Tuesday, the narrative started out in similar fashion.
North Platte (15-20) opened the game with consecutive wins over the Indians (19-11).
The Lady Dawgs traded leads with Ogallala early in the opening set, but six unanswered points from North Platte built a 17-11 cushion late in the set. And despite a late rally by the Indians to come within a point, North Platte held them off with three more unanswered points to win, 25-21.
Ogallala stormed back in the second set, opening with nine consecutive points, taking a comfortable 10-1 lead.
North Platte, however, chewed at the lead quickly with a rally of their own, outscoring the Indians 24-13 since trailing by nine to sneak a 25-23 second-set win.
"That really showed their will to fight for each other and the resiliency to come back," Hammond said. "I’m proud of them because that showed that they weren’t willing to give up despite being down big."
But the Indians had been in the same scenario over a month ago.
Facing a two-set deficit, the Indians jumped ahead 15-7 in the third set and didn’t look back. Unlike the meltdown in the second set, the Indians maintained consistency in putting away North Platte, 25-12.
Ogallala then continued their surge into the fourth set, weathering a 7-1 rally by the Lady Dawgs, who came within two points of the lead 23-21, to snag a 25-22 win and force a fifth set.
North Platte snapped the drought in the fifth, weathering a 12-7 run by Ogallala to earn the 16-14 win.
For Hammond, the win over Ogallala this time around proved that things have changed leading into
"I think the girls are finally seeing that it’s OK to win," Hammond said. "Success is okay, and it’s something we need to start expecting. They stayed hungry and trusted in one another that whole game, and it’s something they will need to continue to do."