WAPAKONETA — Kaleigh Palmer unofficially set a school record for kills in a match as Wapakoneta lost a nonconference battle to Parkway 21-25, 25-10, 25-23, 21-25, 16-14 on Tuesday at home.
Palmer had 34 kills to eclipse the previous mark of 25 that she tied in a contest Aug. 23 at Findlay. In 2017, Redskins hitter Sarah Pothast was the first WHS player to have 25 kills in a match.
“Kaleigh played a phenomenal game,” Wapakoneta coach Megan Brown said. “She played fantastic, kept the ball in play, limited her errors and did everything she absolutely could do for us to win.”
The Redskins (5-6 overall) use an internet-based service that officially tracks their statistics. Palmer’s record could be made official as early as today.
The Panthers (7-3 overall) received back-to-back kills from Macy Johnson in the fifth set to seal their victory after Palmer’s final kill produced a 14-all tie.
“There was a lot of back-and-fourth in this match with a lot of sideouts,” Parkway coach Jordan Henkle said. “Palmer is a really good player and is very hard to stop. Our goal was to use serving to keep (Wapakoneta) out of system so that they wouldn’t be able to find her. You’re not going to stop her very often.”
Henkle said balanced hitting was an asset for his team.
“I think being a little more balanced (with our hitting) when things were not going our way out of serve-receive was a good way to get an aggressive ball over the net to get out of (our) system,” Henkle said.
Johnson finished with a team-high 23 kills for Parkway, which picked up 14 more from Grace Stober and 10 from Faith Jacobs. Gracyn Temple topped the Panthers with 10 digs, while Jacobs and Paige Stephenson each added eight more. Stephenson finished with 32 assists.
Wapakoneta’s Emily Van Horn (seven) and Reagan Courter (six) combined for 13 kills, while setter Reyna Woodruff created 37 assists. The Redskins’ dig leaders were Palmer (16), Van Horn (15) and Carlie Schroeder (12).
“We came out strong in the first set before lacking a spark in the second,” Brown said. “I was proud of the girls from coming back from a slow second set and be very competitive. We played well against Parkway, which has a great team. The match came down to the final few points.”
Wapakoneta and Parkway were deadlocked at 20 in Set 1 until a kill from Woodruff broke the tie and a kill from Palmer capped a 5-1 scoring run from WHS.
The Panthers dominated Set 2, leading by as many as 15 points (24-9) on a kill from Allison Hughes late in the game before a serving error by the Redskins handed Parkway a win to tie the match 1-1.
Wapakoneta overcame a 7-4 deficit to grab a 12-8 lead in Set 3 on Parkway hitting error. But the Panthers rallied to force a tie at 14 and went ahead 22-19 on WHS violation for a double hit. The Redskins rebounded to create a 23-all knot before Parkway received a kill from Stober and an ace to close the set.
Palmer generated eight kills in Set 4 to keep Wapakoneta afloat in the match. Her kill handed the Redskins a 23-14 lead before the Panthers made a late comeback to trim their deficit to three (24-21). Another kill from Palmer won the set for WHS and tied the match 2-2.
There were eight lead changes in Set 5 until Parkway tied it at 14 and Johnson stepped forward with a pair of kills.