With a tough Class 3A West volleyball regional on the horizon, Powell’s Lady Panthers needed momentum going into Thursday’s regular-season finale against the Lovell Lady Bulldogs — and they got it.
The Lady Panthers served a dozen aces on the way to a 25-13, 25-19, 25-14 win over Lovell, completing a perfect 6-0 mark in the 3A Northwest quadrant.
“What a great finish to our regular season,” said PHS coach Randi Bonander. “This conference record is an accomplishment the girls and I are extremely proud of along with coming back a from a tough loss on Tuesday against Cody to accomplish a victory with a sweep against Lovell.”
Thursday’s win also represented the final home game for the Lady Panthers’ nine seniors — Ashtyn Heny, Aubrie Stenerson, Natalie Ostermiller, Jasmyne Lensegrav, Jazlyn Haney, Hartly Thorington, Becky McConahay, Devon Curtis and Rachel Bonander. That group of nine was honored as part of Powell’s Senior Night.
“Senior Night was just wonderful,” coach Bonander said. “It was special in so many ways. First, being a parent [that night] was pretty humbling. The night was a touch surreal also because each of these young ladies are like daughters to me. Most of them I’ve known since elementary or middle school and the couple that have entered our PHS family within the last couple of years, fit right in. It was pretty emotional, but when it came game time, the girls were all business.”
Thorington led Powell with four aces, followed by three from Heny and two from Rachel Bonander. Haney, Ostermiller and Stenerson each had an ace.
Stenerson and Thorington each had nine kills, while Rachel Bonander had six. Ostermiller and Gabi Metzler each had 10 assists, while Heny had 12 digs, Lensegrav added seven and Stenerson finished with six.
Thursday also was Autism Awareness Night at the game and more than $1,000 was raised to be donated to the Park County School District No. 1 Life Skills Program. Ginger Sleep, special education director for PCSD No. 1, was there to accept the donation.
“It was an unforgettable night in so many ways,” coach Bonander said.
The Lady Panthers open play at the Class 3A West regional tournament at Mountain View Friday at 1 p.m. against Big Piney. The winner will play the Mountain View-Lander Valley winner at 5:30 that evening, while the loser will play the Lander Valley-Mountain View loser at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in an elimination game.
“We have played them [Big Piney] twice this season and beat them both times,” coach Bonander said. “We will be focusing on defense, consistent sets, serving and communication. We have been inconsistent in these areas and that isn’t acceptable at tournament time.”
“When we are on, we are definitely on,” she added, “but we can’t be off this coming weekend so we will also look at our possible opponents for the second match and so on. We have to be able to do all the little things consistently to come out of each match with the win, so that will be the emphasis this week.”