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October 08, 2013 7:45 am

Panthers sweep Lander and Jackson, sit atop Northwest division

Written by Dante Geoffrey

The Powell Panthers volleyball team defeated two conference opponents to pull itself into a tie for the top spot in the Class 3A Northwest division this weekend.

 

Powell (17-6, 4-1) downed Lander and the first-place Jackson Broncs in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday on the road.

“It was a great weekend for Lady Panther volleyball,” said head coach Cindi Smith. “We were excited to pick up two conference wins on the road.”

The Panthers’ 25-12, 25-15, 25-21 win over the Tigers came behind the 14 kills of freshman Kalina Smith and all around strong serving.

Sophomore Breanna Donarski (12-for-12) and junior Makaila Moore (17-for-17) led the Panthers, who served successfully on 93.2 percent of serves as a team.

Junior libero Jenni Ebersberger was 12-for-13 serving and was second on the team with 13 digs.

Smith added 19 digs and Kelsey Marchant had nine.

Seniors Cassidi Partridge and Tori Sleep each had one solo block and one block assist.

“Our block did a better job which in turn helped our back line reads,” Smith said.

Senior Shawnea Harrington was second in kills with six and junior Taylor Woodward added four.

The Panthers beat Lander (9-13, 0-4) for the second time in three games and have yet to drop a set to the Tigers this season.

Powell’s win over Jackson, however, was a first this season.

The Panthers had previously been swept by Jackson on Sept. 20 and are 1-4 against the Broncs in non-conference tournament games, but beat them 25-20, 25-21, 25-13 in Saturday’s home game.

Smith again led the Panthers’ offense with nine kills. Harrington was just behind her with seven and Sleep rounded out Powell’s attack with six of her own.

Donarski had another great game serving. The defensive specialist was 21-for-21 with four aces. She also had 13 digs to lead Powell’s back-row defense.

Moore was a perfect 14-for-14 and had four aces as well.

“We did a great job serving aggressively and placing the ball effectively,” Smith said.

Smith said the team’s work in recent practices paid off this weekend as the Panthers showed improvement in blocking, defensive reads and ball placement on attacks.

“The team really pulled together and showed a lot of team unity,” Smith said.

Powell will have two matches during homecoming week. The Panthers will host Worland today (Tuesday) and Cody Thursday. Both matches are scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

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