Future ‘bright’ as Panthers finish volleyball season

Posted 11/5/20

Powell High School wrapped up its 2020 volleyball season last week, with the Panthers falling 3-0 against Lander Valley in the regional cross-quadrant tournament.

The Tigers are among the best …

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Future ‘bright’ as Panthers finish volleyball season

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Powell High School wrapped up its 2020 volleyball season last week, with the Panthers falling 3-0 against Lander Valley in the regional cross-quadrant tournament.

The Tigers are among the best teams at the Class 3A level and led the match from the start. Even though the Panthers were unable to take a set, head coach Tasha Miller said she was proud of how her squad competed.

“I don’t think the score reflected how we were playing,” Miller said. “We fought hard and maintained intensity, but we were just outmatched. Lander is a great team.”

Offensively, freshman Addy Thorington led Powell with eight kills, while Rose Graft and Megan Jacobsen added four and three, respectively. Maddie Campbell’s two service aces were a team-high.

Graft had the most digs with 21, and Campbell followed close behind with 19.

With COVID-19, the 2020 season was unprecedented. It gave the girls fewer opportunities to bond as a team, as events like team dinners and overnight trips were scratched.

Even so, Miller saw great strides from the beginning of the season to the end.

“Somehow these girls were still able to come together by the end of the season and start to connect,” Miller said. “Our season might not have had a lot of wins, but I think there was huge improvement from the beginning to the end, and that was exciting to see.”

PHS finished the year 7-10 overall. Early on, the team struggled to find an identity. But as the year progressed, the squad became significantly more competitive, even in losses.

“We started out a little disconnected and without much confidence,” Miller said. “The intensity in the matches started to gain, and we had several coaches reach out and say how impressed they were at how much improvement they saw in these girls over the course of the season, and I think that’s good for the girls to hear.”

Four seniors will graduate from the program this year: Graft, Madi Fields, Mattie Larsen and Paije Johnson. Each of those players added to the team’s ability to compete and played key roles in the Panthers’ wins this year.

While that group will be missed in future years, Miller looks forward to seeing how the program develops in the seasons to come.

“The future looks bright for Lady Panther volleyball,” Miller said. “There are a lot of really dedicated and talented athletes that are coming up. We had a lot of our younger athletes staying after practices, night after night, to improve their game, and that is really exciting to see as coaches.”

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