PHS volleyball completes busy week of contests

Loss at home to Thermopolis, two ties in Rawlins

Posted 9/19/19

It was a busy three-day stretch for the Powell High School volleyball team last week, with a home opener against Thermopolis Thursday and a tournament in Rawlins Friday and Saturday.

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PHS volleyball completes busy week of contests

Loss at home to Thermopolis, two ties in Rawlins

Posted

It was a busy three-day stretch for the Powell High School volleyball team last week, with a home opener against Thermopolis Thursday and a tournament in Rawlins Friday and Saturday.

In front of a raucous home crowd Thursday at Panther Gym, the Lady Panthers took the Bobcats to four sets before ultimately losing 3-1. Despite the loss, it was a special night for Powell, as the home team hosted Team Ethan Night as a fundraiser for injured Panther quarterback Ethan Asher.

“We had a lot of factors playing into the match on Thursday,” said PHS head coach Tasha Miller. “This was the first varsity match for eight out of 10 of my girls. I try and encourage them, especially in this scenario where they were so nervous, to just play their game and tune out the crowd.” 

Powell dropped the first set 25-12, but settled in on the second, trading point-for-point in a 25-23 loss.

The third set was a gem, as the Lady Panthers jumped out to an early lead, and survived multiple lead changes at the end to win 28-26. Powell couldn’t carry that momentum into the fourth set, however, falling 25-14.

“They had a hard time shaking those first game jitters,” Miller said. “By the third set, I feel like they were finally getting over it, but it was just too late to battle back by the fourth set.”

Powell’s Gabby Harshman led the team in kills against Thermopolis with 11, followed by Rose Graft with nine.

“Those two really turned it on for the home game against Thermopolis,” Miller said of Harshman and Rose. “I think our setters Gabi Metzler and Madi Fields have both been working hard to connect with our hitters, and they were really connecting with our middles that night.”

With little time to ruminate on the loss, the Lady Panthers were back on the road Friday for the Rawlins Invitational. Powell opened the invite with a pair of ties against Torrington (21-10, 11-21) and Big Piney (16-21, 21-19). They finished Friday with a two-set, straight-set win over Newcastle, which put them in Saturday’s Gold Bracket.

“We are trying to figure out how to strengthen our mental game right now, and that was our main goal [going into Rawlins],” Miller said. “There were a couple of matches that we struggled with, but we improved and were able to play some really good sets by the end.”

Powell opened Saturday’s action with a straight set loss to host Rawlins (21-6, 21-12) that dropped them into the consolation round. The Lady Panthers played hard against Lyman, but lost in straight sets (21-17, 21-13).

Outside hitter Kady Wells led the Lady Panthers with 16 kills on the weekend, followed by Larsen with 10.

Coach Miller said that right side hitter, Mattie Larsen “stepped up and had a great tournament. She [Larsen] is a natural leader and has a way of bringing the intensity on the court that our team really needs,” the coach said.

The Lady Panthers are on the road again this weekend, with a match in Lander Friday and Worland Saturday. The team will keep busy the following week, with matches at Lovell Tuesday and back home against cross-county rival Cody Thursday.

“We are really trying to focus on our confidence and mental game this week,” Miller said. “Once we can get that going for us, I know these girls will be unstoppable.”

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