The Saratoga Sun -

Lady Tigers fall to rival Rattlers

 


The Encampment Lady Tigers faced off Friday against the Little Snake River Valley Lady Rattlers, the defending champions from 2016.

The Tigers gave up the match to the Rattlers, losing in three sets with scores of 17-25, 20-25 and 15-25. The loss carries artifacts from the team’s heartbreaking loss at state finals in Casper last year, where the team lost its footing—and the championship—after a 23-game winning streak last season.

“We are still trying to find a lineup we are happy with which makes it difficult for the players also, but they are trusting us and getting chances to appreciate several positions right now,” Robin O’Leary, head coach of the Encampment Lady Tigers, said in a written statement.

Defensively, the Tigers worked hard against the Rattlers, relying heavily on seasoned veterans to minimize Baggs’ scoring chances. Paige Powell delivered 14 digs, with other veteran player Hailey Barkhurst making nine.

Overall, six Tigers delivered 39 digs against the Rattlers, with Powell and Barkhurst accounting for half the total.

Other areas of defense still need improvement, according to O’Leary. “Serve receive and back row defense are one definite weakness,” she said.

Despite the weaker performance in receiving and back-row defense, O’Leary was happy with other aspects of the Tigers’ game. “Our serves, blocking and attitude were strengths for us this game.”

Barkhurst led the team in serves with 13. Powell delivered nine and Cheyanne Jordan hit 8. Lindsie Farver, a newcomer to the team, drove home 11.

Despite the fact the loss precludes the Tigers from racking up the kind of winning streak they amassed last year, O’Leary says she is confident about the team’s future, and said the season is still young.

“We have work to do but we have time to make improvements before the end of the season,” O’Leary said.

The Encampment Tigers next game will be 4:30 p.m. Thursday against Rock River in Encampment. The Tigers will also host Saratoga 1 p.m. Saturday at home.

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