The Fillies, led by four seniors playing their final home match, came out fired up in the first game and took an early lead with aggressive net play, but the Lady Panthers took the lead at 9-8 and pulled away for a 10 point win, with game point …
Clinch top seed by win over landerThe Powell Lady Panthers continued their undefeated string in volleyball conference play with two wins last week, but it was close call on Thursday.Two weeks ago, the Lady Panthers swept Cody in three games, winning all three by comfortable margins. This time, though, the Fillies had other ideas, and the match wasn't decided until Powell scored its 17th point to take game five and the match, 25-15,25-10, 19-25, 23-25, 17-15.
The Fillies, led by four seniors playing their final home match, came out fired up in the first game and took an early lead with aggressive net play, but the Lady Panthers took the lead at 9-8 and pulled away for a 10 point win, with game point coming on a Cody serve that didn't clear the net.
Game two was all Powell. Cody won the first two points, but Savannah Donarski tipped a long Cody dig down to get the side-out and the Lady Panthers ran off a 25-8 streak with aggressive hitting by Kami Cooley, Randi Asay, Hannah Pollart, Olivia Rogers and Donarski.
Game three started with two aces by Cooley, but this time the Fillies put up stiff resistance and took an 11-8 lead. Missed serves, errant passes and hits out of bounds prevented the Lady Panthers from coming back and a block by the Fillies scored game point.
Powell's troubles continued in game four, but they managed to stay close. Cody took the early lead, but were never more than four points ahead. Powell tied the game at 23, but lost the last two points by hitting out of bounds.
Powell appeared to recover in game five, scoring the first four points and building an early 6-1 lead, but Cody fought back to lead 12-9. Powell came back to take a 14-13 lead, missed two chances at game point before the last Cody return sailed out of bounds.
Coach Cindi Smith said the match was a good challenge for the Lady Panthers, who haven't had to go to five games for some time, and she felt the girls' had shown “a lot of character.”
“They had to pull together and come back when Cody had the momentum,” Smith said. “Those experiences (when you aren't playing well) you can build on get better. You just have to dig in and keep playing.”
The Lady Panthers reeled in their fifth win more efficiently on Friday, outplaying the Lander Lady Tigers in three sets, 25-13, 25-15, 25-20.
The Lady Tigers stuck with the Lady Panthers in the early going in all three games, but Powell pulled away in the first game with a 12-5 run. It was the same in game two, when the Powell girls, leading 16-14, ended the game with a 9-1 streak.
Lander made it a bit tougher in game three, but again a late run gave Powell the game and the match.
Smith said she was happy her team was able to play well on Friday after the tough, emotional battle with Cody on Thursday.
The two wins earned the Lady Panthers a 5-0 record in Northwest Conference play, and, with only one match left, clinches the top seed from the north in the regional tournament.
This weekend, the Panthers travel to Mountain View, where they will take on the Buffaloes as well as Jackson, Pinedale and Lyman.
“We'll just work to keep getting better,” Smith said. “We want to continue to grow as a team, and we'll keep pushing to get better.”