ROACHDALE -- North Putnam's volleyball squad had the chance to try and claim second place in the WCC as their own Thursday night against Greencastle.
Short-handed on the court, however, the Cougars could not find a way to match the Tiger Cub attack as the visitors won in straight sets 25-12, 25-17 and 25-11.
Greencastle was quick to jump in front in each of the three sets as North Putnam missed influential senior Katie Welch for a second match.
The Cougars were flat in falling behind by at least four points in each set and had difficulty recovering in the first and third sets.
The hosts made the second set difficult as, after falling behind 16-8, North Putnam cut the gap down to 18-14, but could not find a way to chase down the visitors any closer.
Greencastle's attack in the first and third sets saw them lead by double digits and pull away down the stretch in each to pick up their third win in a row.
With Rayleigh Amis leading the attack with nine kills and Alex Basile providing 13 assists, Greencastle head coach Trish Lowe said that the squad was beginning to build up a head of steam.
"We've been on a good roll. We've been working hard on some things. I think the kids are starting to believe in themselves and in their talents. Hopefully there are some good things in our future," Lowe said.
"I know North Putnam was not at full strength. They're missing one of their best players in Katie Welch and I wish she could have been here because I would have liked to have seen a match with both teams at their best."
Lowe added the squad finally implemented some of their practice work into Thursday night's contest.
"We've been taking baby steps. We've added new things at practice and a lot of the things we had been working on weren't being seen on the court," Lowe said.
"Tonight, those things that we've been working on and improving on were seen on the court. I'm really proud of their growth, from the varsity starters down through to the JV squad."
North Putnam head coach Jill Schreiber said the squad seemed rudderless with Welch not available.
"She's a good player. She keeps the team together and motivates them. She'll go after balls that no one else can or will get to. She does a lot for this team, and it's showed over the last two nights that we've played," Schreiber said.
"This team has the talent to play well, but it's as if something has been taken away from them and it shows. I sometimes don't understand this team because they have the talent and desire to win.
"We struggled all around, even after a good practice yesterday. Greencastle is also playing very well. They're playing hard for coach Lowe and we couldn't handle them," Schreiber added.
Schreiber said the squad should be whole again by the time they face Fountain Central on Monday.
"They'll all be back together by Monday. It's funny to see this team. It's as if they are scattered when Katie's not there to pull it all together. They just don't seem confident when the whole group is not together."
Lowe, meanwhile, said her squad had a chance to continue their progress with a pair of WCC matchups next week.
"Next week is a big week. We play Cascade on Wednesday and South Putnam on Thursday. I think they're starting to pick up on the idea that it is a matter of believing and trusting themselves and their teammates."
At North Putnam
Greencastle 25 25 25
North Putnam 12 17 11
Next match: North Putnam travels to Fountain Central next Monday. Greencastle hosts Cascade next Wednesday.