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October 14, 2008 12:02 am

Panthers sweep Southwest

Written by Tribune Staff

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Lady Panthers Savannah Donarski (2) and Kami Cooley get set to block a hit by Kemmerer's Randi McInerney in competition during the conference duals last Saturday. The Powell girls fell hard in game two of the match, but recovered and earned a 3-1 victory over the Rangers.Tribune photo by Don Amend

Regular season comes to a close this week

It wasn't easy, but the Powell High School Lady Panthers went 4-0 last week to keep their dual match volleyball record clean.

Despite struggling at times, the girls came up with big plays when it counted and swept the Southwest teams at the conference duals in Lovell. After a marathon five-set win over Jackson, the Lady Panthers swept Lyman in three on Friday. Saturday, they overcame a dismal second game against Kemmerer to take the match in four sets, and closed the weekend with another 3-1 win over Pinedale.

“Our goal was to come in and go 4-0, and we did it,” said PHS head coach Cindi Smith. “The girls played some tough games, and I'm proud of them for pulling them out.”

Powell, ranked third in WyoPreps.com's volleyball standings, set down Jackson with a pair of wins, 25-18, 25-16 in the first two sets. Game one ended with two Jackson errors off Lauren Fagnant's serve, and a Savannah Donarski smash ended the second.

In game three, though, Jackson found its groove after Powell led early and fought back to a tie at 20. Powell regained the lead, only to give it up, then came back to tie the score at 23 on a Kelsey Allen service ace before Jackson scored twice to take game three, 25-23.

Powell again took an early lead in game four, but Jackson stayed close, and for the second time, caught the Lady Panthers to take the lead at 21-20. Powell then took advantage of a bad serve by the Broncs and scored three straight behind Olivia Rogers' serve to bring the Panthers to game point. But Jackson responded with a run of their own to go ahead 25-24. A Jackson net foul kept the game going, and each team had three more chances at game point before Jackson tied the game at 31 and scored scored two more to even the match at two sets each.

With the match on the line, the Lady Panthers pulled away from a 4-4 tie and built a five-point lead at 11-6 on a kill by Kami Cooley. After an exchange of serves, Pollart put a stop to the Broncs' scoring at 13-8 with a kill and the Panthers scored game point on a Kayla Ando dig that soared into an undefended corner.

In their second match, the Lady Panthers continued to have trouble holding a lead. They jumped out to an early advantage when Ando's first two serves were aces, but Lyman came back to take a 9-8 lead. Powell again pulled away, but the Eagles came back to tie the score at 22, and only a Lyman net foul kept them from taking the lead.

Powell served to game point and won the game despite a determined Lyman rally that ended when Rogers tapped the ball over the net for the win.

Game two was a bit easier as the Lady Panthers pulled away from a 12-12 tie to notch a 25-20. Kills by Cooley, Fagnant and Pollart accounted for the last three points. In game three, Randi Asay served for eight straight points as Powell built a big early advantage, and reached game point thanks to a dig by Lyman that Fagnant tipped down for a point and two blocks by Donarski. But the Eagles staged a rally and scored five straight before a Lyman hit into the net ended the match 25-20.

The Lady Panthers opened Saturday by taking an easy win over Kemmerer in game one. Powell pulled away from a 6-6 tie and built 22-14, lead. After giving up a point, they put the game away on three straight kills by Pollart for a 25-15 win.

Game two, though, was just one of those games. The Lady Panthers came out flat, and the Rangers capitalized, scoring the first 15 points before a Rogers spike ended the onslaught. But Kemmerer kept up the attack and rolled to a 25-8 win, which ended on a bad pass by Powell.

In game three, the Lady Panthers found their game again, and led until a Ranger comeback tied the game at 18. A Rogers' kill stopped their run, and kills by Donarski and Cooley put the Panthers on the edge of a win.

Kemmerer came back to close the gap to 23-22, but a cross-court smash by Donarski and an Asay shot down the right sideline ended the game 25-22.

In game four, the Lady Panthers took the lead and held it, using a methodical attack to take the match with a 25-17 win. Match point came on a block by Asay and Rogers that Kemmerer couldn't recover.

The Lady Panthers traded wins in the first two sets with Pinedale. Game one was all Powell, ending with an ace served by Pollart for a 25-13 win. Pinedale reversed the score in game two, though, tying the match with a 25-14 win of their own.

In game three, the Wranglers didn't have a chance. Powell jumped out to an 8-1 lead and lost the serve only three times in the game, scoring a 25-4 win when Donarski swatted the ball into the corner.

Pinedale battled back in the final game, and tied the match at 17 after trailing by as many as six points. The Lady Panthers regained the lead and held off the Wranglers for a 25-20 win, thanks to a series of kills by Donarski, who also combined with Asay for a block that scored match point.

“It was a good experience for us,” said Smith said. “We had a couple of long, tough matches, and the girls found a way to do it in the end.”

Smith said the ups and downs of the weekend may have been because the team was tired following some hard practices during the week, but she said the victories show that the practices are paying off.

“They've practiced hard and they played hard,” Smith said. “Things we've been working on, I'm seeing them come out on the court.”

Smith said the tough games were a plus for the Lady Panthers after several weeks of relatively easy wins.

“We needed to have some four and five game matches,” Smith said. “We need to have that experience now to be ready for regionals.”

The Lady Panthers close the regular season Friday night in Worland, and will be aiming to cap their conference championship with a perfect record.

Game time in Worland is 6:15 p.m.