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September 15, 2011 8:54 am

Lady Panthers show improvement at Rawlins

Written by Don Amend

A coin flip pool play put Powell into the silver bracket at the Rawlins Invitational last weekend, and the Lady Panthers reached the finals before falling to Cody in volleyball action.

In Friday’s pool play with Rawlins,  Newcastle and Worland, the Lady Panthers split two games with all three teams, a record matched by the host team.

“Friday was an even split,” said Coach Cindi Smith of pool play. “We ended up tied with Rawlins and they won the coin flip and went into the gold bracket.”

In Saturday’s play, the Lady Panther started slowly, losing the first set to Shoshoni, 21-19, but they rebounded to win the next two sets handily, 21-14, 21-7.  In the semi-final round, Powell swept Pinedale 21-18, 21-18, putting them in the final round against the Cody.

The Lady Panthers and Fillies locked up in an even battle in the first set, but with the match tied at 21, Cody took the next two points for the win. In the second game, though, the Lady Panthers fill behind early and Cody won an easy, 21-8 win to take the match.

Lander won the gold bracket, defeating Torrington, Jackson and Douglas in bracket play.

The Lady Panthers were playing without middle blocker Becky Dent, but senior outside hitter Kendra Ostrom moved into the role as the Lady Panthers continue to try different combinations.

“Kendra moved over to help the team and did a good job,” Smith said. “We tried some new things and worked on different areas.”

For the weekend, Corianne McKearney and Savannah Holt were 100 percent in serving accuracy. Jenni Ebersberger put 95 percent of her serves in play and Kadi Cooley was accurate on 95 percent. Jenni Ebersberger served six aces and Ostrom and Morgan McCray each served four. Ostrom and McKearney led the team in kills with 30 and 29 respectively, and Tori Sleep scored 10. Setter Kadi Cooley assisted on 79 of the kills.

Defensively, McKearney led in blocks with two solo blocks and 10 assists, and Shawnea Harrington made nine assists

According to Smith, several of the state’s 3A schools are in the same position as Powell, still working to put their games together as they move into the crucial weeks of the season, and she said her team is continuing to improve.

“We’re continuing to grow, which is exactly what we want to be doing right now,” Smith said.

This week the Lady Panthers will face their first conference test when the Jackson Lady Broncs come to Powell Thursday. The teams have seen each other before in the Border Wars tournament in Worland, where  the Lady Panthers  took  the Lady Broncs in two games during bracket play.

On Saturday, the girls will take the trip to Lander to face a team that is on a roll. The Lady Tigers won the Border Wars tournament in Worland two weeks ago as well as last weekend’s competition in Rawlins. The Lady Tigers also have a 1-0 dual-meet record, thanks to an early-season 3-0 win over Worland, and the only blots on their record are two early season tournament losses to Rock Springs.

Friday’s action begins at 6:30 p.m. following freshman and JV games. Saturday’s match in Lander is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. again following freshman and JV competition.

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