The Panthers (2-1, 15-6) dropped the match to the Warriors (2-2, 12-11) in five grueling sets, 24-26, 24-26, 25-22, 25-19, 9-15, but remain in second place in the Class 3A Northwest division.
While the loss to the East’s Warriors was disappointing, coach Cindi Smith thinks it could be a learning experience for her team.
“This was some players first experience in a five-set match,” Smith said. “The fifth set to 15 goes fast; we will learn the importance stepping out ready on the first point.”
Powell’s serving, normally a strong-suit, let the team down against Worland. The Panthers missed nearly 12 percent of their service attempts.
“We are usually a great serving team but had an off night and struggled on placement and accuracy,” Smith said. “We need to keep working on being more consistent and eliminate unforced errors in order to pull through in close sets/matches.”
The Panthers dropped the first two sets in frustrating fashion, losing each by two points.
“It is hard to drop two sets by two points, especially when errors that we can control are a factor in the loss,” Smith said.
Though they weren’t able to complete the comeback, the Panthers rallied in the third and fourth sets to force a match-deciding fifth set.
“Our team has a great deal of drive and determination,” Smith said. “We never give up no matter how down we are.”
Junior libero Jenni Ebersberger was 26-for-27 serving, freshman Kalina Smith was 16-for-17 and senior Cassidi Partridge (six-for-six) was the only Panther without a service error.
Smith led the team with 15 kills, one more than senior Shawnea Harrington. There was a big drop off after that, with Partridge, senior Tori Sleep and junior Megan Wagner all notching four kills.
Ebersberger led the way in the back row with a team-high 29 digs. Smith notched 26 and junior Makaila Moore had 18.
Partridge was active along the net while tallying two solo and two assisted blocks.
Smith had two solo blocks, and junior Taylor Woodward had two block assists.
The Panthers will resume their divisional schedule this weekend with two Class 3A Northwest road match-ups.
Powell will take on Lander (0-3, 9-12) Friday at 6 p.m. and the first place Jackson Broncs (3-0, 14-6) Saturday at 1 p.m.