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Volleyball to vie for conference championship

The Powell Panthers volleyball team travels to Lyman this Friday to compete in the 3A West regionals.

“This is what you prepare for,” PHS head coach Cindi Smith said. “You work all season to get to this point.”

The Panthers (5-1, 14-8) are seeded No. 1 in the 3A Northwest division and will face the Southwest division’s No. 4-seeded Pinedale in their first match. Powell previously defeated Pinedale 3-1 on Oct. 5 at the 3A conference duals in Cody.

If the Panthers defeat Pinedale again, they will face the winner of the Lyman-Lander match, said Smith. Powell lost to Lyman in four closely contested matches at the conference duals Oct. 6. Powell fared better against Lander, taking three of four matches on the season including two division wins.

The Panthers last played on Oct. 11 against Worland in a match that had zero effect on seeding. The game served as both a warm-up for the Panthers and a reminder that work is yet to be done.

Powell dropped the match against the Warriors in five sets.

“It was a rough game,” Smith said. “Communication broke down a lot.”

Smith said communication will be key to any success the team has in Lyman, and it’s one of the areas the Panthers have focused on in practice.

“They’ve really come in and worked hard and come in with purpose each night to get better,” Smith said.

Communication, adjusting on the fly and taking what the opponent’s defense gives them are three keys of the game Smith said the team will have to excel at to win.

Smith hopes her team plays more consistent and effective volleyball this weekend. She said emotions got the better of the team against Worland and that’s something that can’t happen at regionals.

“You’re not going to have a flawless game so you have to be able to reset and stay confident,” Smith said.

Despite the late-season letdown against Worland, Smith knows her team is capable of doing great things.

“I definitely see a lot of potential in our team,” Smith said. “They’ve really worked hard and they’ve done a lot of good things. It’s just a matter that we step out and play to our potential and if that happens, good things will follow.”

Powell is the No. 1 seed in the 3A Northwest division, followed by No. 2 Cody, No. 3 Lander and No. 4 Jackson.

Star Valley, which defeated Powell at conference duals Oct. 5 is the top seed in the 3A Southwest division, followed by No. 2 Lyman, No. 3 Mountain View and No. 4 Pinedale.

The two teams that win both of their Friday games will meet in the championship game on Saturday. The top four teams advance to state.

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