TYNDALL — Platte-Geddes volleyball fell to Parkston in their final match of pool play Saturday at the Cavalier Clash in Tyndall and had to turn around and face the defending Class ‘B’ champions in Northwestern in the opening round of the bracket.

What Platte-Geddes did from there is sweep Northwestern, Parker and Wagner to claim the 2021 Cavalier Clash Championships trophy.

“We started off strong, it was looking promising and then we had a setback against Parkston,” Platte-Geddes head coach Melissa Johnson said. “We just said to ourselves, we have to bounce back, and we had Northwestern. They’re always a top team and we played great against them and we kept the energy up.”

The Black Panthers swept Wagner 2-0 in the championship game and held the lead for most of the match.

The match was the sixth of the day for Platte-Geddes and fifth for Wagner, whose pool was one team short after Custer didn’t make the trip. Wagner had a three and a half hour wait between pool play and the start of the tournament Saturday, and defeated Bon Homme and Avon in straight sets to advance to the championship match.

Platte-Geddes was the runner-up from their pool as the final match of pool play with Parkston decided the pool winner, and Parkston stole the match from the Black Panthers. Platte-Geddes then had a short break before taking on Northwestern, who hadn’t dropped a set on the day.

I think it helped losing to Parkston because we played Northwestern first,” Johnson said. “We still had good energy for that, it wasn’t like it was our sixth match, it was only our fourth. A loss isn’t great, but I think it was alright that we lost to Parkston, and it got us to the championship from there.”

The Black Panthers jumped ahead in the first set of the quarterfinal match and won the opening set before having to cling to a slim lead in the second set. Platte-Geddes ultimately won the set, which set up a match-up with Parker.

“Beating Northwestern, especially in two, showed our girls that we can compete with anyone, doesn’t matter who they are,” Johnson said. “That really helped (against Northwestern) and then the girls were able to finish against Parker and Wagner.”

Platte-Geddes down Parker in two sets, while Wagner was able to sit and watch after their semifinal match with Avon wrapped up right as the Black Panthers semifinal was starting.

Parker, coming off a three-set thriller with Elk Point-Jefferson, wasn’t able to keep up to Platte-Geddes, falling in two sets. Once the second semifinal ended, Parker was quickly replaced by Wagner on the opposite of the net, and after a brief intermission, it was championship time.

The momentum of a fresh win over Parker carried over for Platte-Geddes in the first set. Wagner burned their first timeout trailing 7-1 and second timeout down 19-10. Platte-Geddes locked down the first set, but the second set was much more competitive.

Neither side was able to build much momentum until Platte-Geddes pulled ahead 21-19, forcing a Wagner timeout. Out of the timeout, Wagner tied the set at 21, but ultimately was unable to rally past Platte-Geddes. The Black Panthers didn’t drop a set in their final three matches, despite having played three matches prior to the tournament bracket starting.

“That energy came from them playing together as a team and communicating,” Johnson said. “Before we played Northwestern, they stayed together, they watched some other games, they talked, and they decided as a team that we were going to continue and player better and get better.”

Platte-Geddes was a perfect 8-0 entering the tournament, and went 5-1 in the tournament. The Black Panthers also beat Wagner for the second time this season with a 3-2 win coming Sept. 7 and the championship game win Saturday.

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