PINE GROVE - The Walnut Lady Wildcats took their first steps towards their journey to another championship, as they defeated Pine Grove 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-20) to clinch the Region 2-2A title.
The Lady Panthers were not quick to give the title away, however, as they hung around with Walnut in the first set until a 4-0 run kicked off by a Laura Leigh Hughes kill forced a Pine Grove timeout. A 5-1 Walnut run capped off by a Dilanie Lafoy kill put some distance between the teams, giving Walnut a 17-9 advantage. Lafoy finished the set with four kills and an ace, helping the Lady Wildcats take the set 25-16.
The second set largely went Walnut's way, as a 5-0 opening run by the Lady Wildcats gave way to an eventual 20-11 lead. Kills by Madi-Kate Vuncannon and Lafoy sealed the second set win 25-14.
Despite jumping out to an early 5-1 advantage in the final set, Walnut could not get separation from Pine Grove throughout the set, as the Lady Panthers clawed back into the set to an eventual single-point deficit at 10-9. Walnut was able to pull away with a 13-7 run capped off by another Hughes kill, however Pine Grove brought the score to within 3. The Lady Wildcats were able to seal the win after a Pine Grove error, taking the final set 25-20.
Walnut will finish out their schedule this week before beginning their playoff journey next week.