The Saratoga Sun -

Lady Panthers playoff hopes narrow

Losses to Little Snake River, Encampment reduce Saratoga netters' playoff chances

 

The Saratoga Lady Panthers had a difficult day Friday as they faced off against top-ranked 1A team and conference rival Rattlers of Little Snake River Valley School in Baggs. As the team rapidly approached the make-or-break point of the season with state finals only a month away, the Lady Panthers gave up the match in three games.

After giving up the first game 13-25, the Lady Panthers held much closer to the Rattlers in the second and third games, with scores of 17-25 in the second and 18-25 in the third.

On the defensive end, the Lady Panthers delivered 13 kills against the Rattlers, four coming at the hands of sophomore Makiya Johnson, and three more coming courtesy of Jenna Dew, also a sophomore.

Attack attempts were at 102 for the match, with Dew making 20 and Johnson delivering 17. Sophomore Aubrey Berger also showed off her offensive chops with 19 attacks. Junior Tiffany Bauer and sophomore Taylor Bennett made 17 and 18 respectively.

Altogether, the Lady Panthers made a total of 51 digs, well below the team's performance in past games. Senior Kaylyn Herring made the Panther's share of digs, saving the play 19 times.

Despite closing the scoring gap in the second and third games by a significant amount, the Lady Panthers' rally still fell short.

Friday's loss reduces the number of games left for Saratoga to earn a place at the regional tournament in a month. According to head coach Shayley Love, the teams hopes for earning a place at state are quickly diminishing, and the team will face stiff competition in the weeks to come.

"I don't want to say we have a young team, but we do," Love said. "We only have two seniors and I hate to talk too much about next year or the future because we want to do something for the seniors."

Saratoga also faced Encampment Saturday in the Panther Den, losing that match again in three games, further reducing the Lady Panthers' hopes of making it to state. (see "Valley Cats hold Whiteout" on page 1)

The Lady Panthers have an upcoming tournament this weekend at Farson Friday and Saturday. Beyond that, there are two more conference games remaining for the team before the postseason begins.

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