Cougars win Sectional
MONROVIA -- The North Putnam volleyball team is the Monrovia Sectional Champion. The Cougars defeated Cloverdale in the Monrovia Sectional Championship Saturday in three sets to earn the title.
"We've been working really hard all season to do it," senior Raegan Bowling said. "We haven't won a sectional since 1989. We set many goals that didn't get accomplished this season but this is one of them. We worked really hard to do it. We are all very excited."
In the semifinal Saturday morning, North Putnam showed grit and determination to fend off the Cascade, in the first two competitive games, dominating the third. North Putnam used its high energy and good communication to overcome its WIC rival.
"I feel good," Sierra Spencer said. "I'm glad. We came in hoping to win and we put the ball down like we were supposed to and won. When it got closer we were getting stressed. But we figured it out, calmed down and pulled it off."
Cloverdale fended off a fierce Sounthmont team in the semifinal, whose never-say-die attitude forced the Clovers to make a comeback in the third set. The Clovers were up for the challenge and after being down 18-16 in the third, CHS turned the game around, taking the lead and the victory to move into the championship round with its county rival.
"Our first goal this week was to get past Southmont," Clover coach Kathy Moore said. "I thought we played really good ball. We had a stretch there in the third set but they finished and that has been something that has been a struggle for us this year. I was proud of them. Our goal was to get to the finals tonight."
The match against the Cougars was a struggle for Cloverdale. With Christyn Willis and Kimmy Winders attacking the net and Savannah Jones setting up the assists, CHS kept pace with North Putnam in the first, only down 11-10 early.
However even with Tori Combs and Mariah Huge providing the blocks for Cloverdale, CHS couldn't get a handle on Taylor Nauert and the rest of the Cougar strikers. North Putnam won 25-20.
"We knew it was going to be difficult against a bigger team," Moore said. "You have a six-footer hitting against you and you are sort of small but I thought we played well the first set. We struggled with our passing a bit. Nonetheless I'm really proud of the kids."
The second set was every bit as competitive as the first. The Clovers were determined to give complete effort and though CHS never took the lead they were able to keep the pressure on North Putnam.
With the score at 15-14 Cougars, North Putnam coach Brandy Dickson was forced to call a timeout to stop the surging Clovers. It was at that point when the Cougars took control to win the second set 25-18.
"I feel fantastic," Nauert said. "We all come together. We fight through everything to get where were are."
The third set was all North Putnam. The Cougars jumped to a 13-3 lead and never allowed the Clovers into the set, winning 25-11.
"We're definitely excited," Adri Millican said. "I know as seniors we came in here really pumped up to beat Cascade and then to beat Cloverdale. We just kept our energy up and got the nine-game sweep."
Dickson was overcome with emotion and saying the Saturday morning was the best performance she's seen from her Cougars.
"I'm just so proud of the way they played the whole tournament," she said. "(Saturday) morning was the best volleyball I've seen. It's very well-deserved by all these girls. They did an awesome job and really worked hard this season."
Moore and her Cloverdale some of her Clovers have been working together since middle school play and she said she appreciated all the support she's received from the community in supporting her team.
"I'm proud of my seniors," Moore said. "They've been with me since the eighth-grade. We've got all sorts of personalities on this team, some strong and independent people. At times it's a struggle but it's good to be independent and your own person."
Cloverdale may have taken the sectional loss but Moore believes that the season ended well for a team that has had to overcome some adversity to get to this point in the year.
"This week we've had good practices," Moore said. "We've really come together as a team. That was really our emphasis this week, to come together and see if we could put the other stuff aside and do the best we could."