The Panthers fell into a hole early in their match against Lovell on Friday. The opposing Bulldogs came out with more energy on their home court, taking the first set and putting Powell High School …
The Panthers fell into a hole early in their match against Lovell on Friday. The opposing Bulldogs came out with more energy on their home court, taking the first set and putting Powell High School at a 1-0 disadvantage.
But head coach Tasha Miller visited with her team at the intermission and lit a fuse.
“We knew we just needed to get our energy up, and that’s what we focused on,” Miller said. “We started out kind of slow in the first set and Lovell didn’t back down.”
After the quick breather, the Panthers burst out with improved chemistry. PHS took set two 25-20, evening the match score.
There was no going back. Powell took the subsequent sets 25-15 and 25-21, clinching a 3-1 match win.
Even with a variety of different rotations used, Miller said she was impressed by the team’s cohesion throughout the match.
“I thought the girls started to communicate well,” the coach said. “I thought the girls did good to maintain energy while working through different rotations.”
Freshman Kenzie Ratcliff led PHS in kills with 11, ahead of Addy Thorington and Ashlyn Shorb who had eight and six, respectively. Rose Graft and Madi Fields tied for the most service aces, with four. Defensively, Megan Jacobsen tallied the most blocks, with three, and Maddie Campbell’s 18 digs led the way.
While many players stood out in the 3-1 victory, it was Shorb who really made an impression on the coach.
“She stepped up and switched positions in the middle of the match and just flowed right into it,” Miller said. “I thought Ashlyn [Shorb] had a really good game.”
The win over the Bulldogs marked Powell’s final contest of the 2020 regular season. The Panthers finished the campaign 7-9 overall.
With the victory, Powell earned the No. 3 seed for the Class 3A Northwest Quadrant Tournament — setting up a game against Lander at 4 p.m. Thursday in Worland. If they win, the Panthers will clinch a trip to the 3A state tournament and play again at 7 p.m. to determine who gets the quadrant’s top seed at state. However, if they lose to the Lander Valley Tigers, the season is over for PHS.
Had Powell fallen to Lovell on Friday, the Panthers would have dropped to the No. 4 spot and had to face the No. 1 seed, Worland. Being at a higher seed improves Powell’s chances of winning that first match.
“We were hoping we would beat Lovell so we would be able to play the No. 2 team, rather than the No. 1 team,” Miller said. “The No. 1 seed in our quadrant gets to host part of regionals this year, so they would have home-court advantage.”