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September 19, 2013 8:03 am

Panther volleyball opens conference with Bronc-beating 3-1 win

Written by Dante Geoffrey

The Powell Panthers volleyball team protected its home court with a 3-1 win over the rival Cody Broncs Tuesday night.

The Panthers won 25-18, 25-22, 13-25, 25-15 to win their first Class 3A Northwest game of the season.

Junior Makaila Moore served up six aces and was a perfect 26-for-26 on serves as Powell (1-0, 14-4) controlled the majority of the game.

Freshman Kalina Smith notched 11 kills and senior Shawnea Harrington had 10 to lead the Panthers offense.

Smith also had 12 digs to give her a double-double on the night.

Powell put the pressure on Cody right from the beginning and led 7-2 before Cody called a time out to stop the bleeding in the first set.

But the Panthers didn’t let up and used a kill by Smith and a combined block by Harrington and fellow senior Cassidi Partridge to extend their lead to 11-4 before the Broncs were able to make a move and close the gap to 22-18.

That was as close as Cody would get. Powell rallied for three straight points to take the first set 25-18.

Partridge had two solo blocks and three assisted blocks.

Set two was a much closer affair than set one.

The teams traded points and it wasn’t until Powell took an 18-13 lead that there was any real separation between the teams.

Partridge and Moore combined for a block to put the Panthers up four and senior Tori Sleep and junior Taylor Woodward combined for another a few plays laters to put them up seven.

Powell continued to pile on the points, but Cody, down 23-14, came out of a time out and mounted a rally that nearly overtook the Panthers.

The Broncs got to within 23-21 and 24-22 before Powell got out of the set as a 25-22 winner.

What nearly happened in the second set, happened with emphasis in the third.

With their backs against the wall the Broncs came out firing and beat a Powell team that may have been complacent after taking a two sets to none lead.

Powell was down only 9-8 in the third set when everything started to go wrong. Cody attacks found space in between Panther passers while Powell’s spikes landed outside the court. Cody’s block kept the Panther offense at bay while Powell’s block was late to get up. Powell’s back row had trouble with Cody’s serves while Powell’s serves had trouble clearing the net.

Cody went on a set-sealing 11-1 run to go ahead 19-9 and had Panther fans looking ahead to set four. The Broncs would go on to win set three 25-13.

The dismal letdown could have led to a heartbreaking loss, but the Panthers rallied and once again took control of the match, this time for good, in set four.

“In the third set we didn’t play aggressive, making it difficult for us to earn points,” said head coach Cindi Smith. “We did a better job playing aggressive in set four.”

Powell was matched point-for-point by Cody and the score was tied at 11 before things started to go in the Panthers’ favor.

Harrington’s kill from the right side finished off Cody 25-15 and gave Powell a critical win.

Three Panthers recorded double-digit digs against Cody. Junior libero Jenni Ebersberger had 28 digs, Smith got 12 and sophomore Breanna Donarski tallied 10.

Donarski was 17-of-17 on serves while Ebersberger was 9-for-9.

Sleep was third on the team in kills with six.

Harrington added two solo blocks in the match. Moore blocked one on her own and assisted on two others.

The Northwest Trappers volleyball team was in attendance.

The Panthers play two home conference games this weekend. The first is a Friday night match up against Jackson at 6:30 p.m., and the second is at 1:30 p.m. Saturday versus Lander.

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