"We knew it was going to be a battle coming in to this match. One, it's a conference match; two it's our breast cancer (match) and three they gave that paddle to us and they wanted it back. I told the girls 'we need to step up'," Cloverdale head coach Kathy Moore said.
The evening was also the second annual "Fight for the Cure" game with both team coming together to help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research.
The Clovers took the first two sets of the match 25-17 and 25-16 and looked ready to make it a short night on the Cougars home court. However, North Putnam's grit and determination wouldn't allow them to let Cloverdale just walk off the court without a fight.
In the third set, the North Putnam miscues that had lead to multiple Cloverdale points in the first two sets lessened and the Cougars were right in the mix. The Clovers were able to grab a quick 4-1 lead, but North Putnam closed the gap, with both squads trading points for the remainder of the set.
Cloverdale's Taylor Jones tied the set at 21-all, but North Putnam's Kenzy Asbell and Kallie Brattain teamed up to give the Cougars a two-point advantage which they rode to take the third set 25-23.
The action was quick and tight in the fourth set as well. North Putnam once again found themselves knocking on the door to win the fourth set, holding a 22-19 lead. However, the Clovers chipped away at the small lead with Jones and Bradanne Toney recording kills. In the end, Cloverdale scored the final two points to win the set 25-23 and the match in four.
The two teams got together before the game to enjoy some time listening to a representative from Putnam County Hospital talk about different types of cancers affecting women.
"It has been a very emotional week for us," North Putnam head coach Jill Schreiber said. "We saw on Tuesday how if we don't work as a team, we don't play as a team, we fall apart. Tonight I was very proud of the girls. They came together and decided 'hey, we have to play as a team'.
"This match was a fun match. We had cake before the game with Cloverdale. It was a very emotional game, not only because it was our breast cancer match, but it was a conference game, it was a paddle game -- there's all these thing that we, as a North Putnam team, were going through. They really pulled together and I think played well," she added.
North Putnam not only pulled together on Thursday, they also executed a game plan that caught the Clovers off guard.
"I thought it was quite a match," Moore said. "Everybody was doing their best to take each other out of their offense. Jill (Schreiber) had them going after my setter. They took my setter out quite a bit tonight -- game that worked. It caught us by surprise here and there, but I thought Bristy did a good job of defending."
Moore also gave kudos to North Putnam's efforts to organize the breast cancer "Fight for the Cure" match. She also commended the Cloverdale student council.
"Hats off to our student council at Cloverdale for selling $411 worth of T-shirts on fairly short notice on a week after homecoming. They've always been supportive. It was a great event. We know 1 in 8 women will have an occurrence of breast cancer in our lifetime. It's our mothers, it's our daughters and it's our grandparents," Moore said.
At North Putnam
Cloverdale 25 25 23 25
North Putnam 17 16 25 23