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November 06, 2008 4:29 am

The ultimate team

Written by Tribune Staff

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Powell Lady Panthers (backs to the camera, from left) Randi Asay, Hannah Pollart and Lauren Fagnant congratulate Savannah Donarski for scoring a kill. Olivia Rogers and Kami Cooley are partially hidden in the back. The team's chemistry was a big factor in propelling them to a state championship season. Tribune photo by Don Amend

Smith reflects on team chemistry

The Powell High School Lady Panthers' march to the state championship can be attributed to one thing, according to Coach Cindi Smith.

“It was our team chemistry that really stood out,” Smith said.

Smith called her team a group of girls who were willing to “strive for excellence,” and who were “so positive and supportive of each other.”

Those attitudes motivated her team and built a high level of confidence and team unity.

“It all goes to the fact that the kids trusted in each other and trusted in themselves,” Smith said.

The team's season statistics demonstrate that sense of teamwork, Smith said. Every one of the regular players appears among the leaders in some category. While Hannah Pollart, Savannah Donarski and Olivia Rogers dominate the statistics, other players made important contributions. Kelsey Allen was a defensive specialist, leading the team in digs and placed in the top three in effectively receiving serves. Lauren Fagnant was third in serving accuracy with 94.5 percent, and Randi Asay and Kayla Ando were second and third, respectively, in serving aces. Ando was the leader in assists, and Asay was fourth in block assists, as well. Kami Cooley contributed more than 100 kills to rank fourth on the team in that category. Many of her kills came at crucial points during matches, added Smith.

The team spirit extended to the bench as well, particularly to senior Erica Woodward. Woodward saw limited action, but was a reliable substitute at several points of the season.

“What a compliment to those kids in the program to come in and play their roles where they were needed,” Smith said. “They all contributed. They were all willing to buy into a common cause.”

The result was a season in which the Lady Panthers (29-5-2) were undefeated in regulation matches. Although their final record includes five losses, all of them came in tournament play during the season, when games were shortened to 21 points or matches shortened to three sets. The record also includes two ties recorded in tournament pool play when teams only played two sets.

“It was a great season,” Smith said. “It was what you always hope you are able to accomplish. It was the ultimate team.”