The Saratoga Sun -

Lady Panthers perk up at Pronghorn

Saratoga netters do well at Farson, eye possible pigtail


The Saratoga Lady Panthers hit the road and joined several of their local and conference rivals at Farson’s Pronghorn Invite Volleyball tournament Friday and Saturday.

The Lady Panthers took on several teams during the conference, scoring wins against some serious competitors while also losing to some old rivals from closer to home. Ultimately, the Panthers won the consolation gold against Kaycee, a top ranked team in the state, thus proving that Saratoga’s game is coming together just in time for the last two weeks of the regular season before regionals begin.

“The Girls are starting to play pretty well,” Shayley Love, the Lady Panthers’ head coach said. “We switched some positions to fill in for our defense and it’s working well—so we’re pretty pleased with that.”

Friday, Saratoga’s netters took on Burlington, Arvada-Clearmont and Evanston.

Against Burlington, the ladies lost one and won another, with a score of 25-17 and 16-25 in the two-game match. Saratoga easily bested the Panthers of Arvada-Clearmont 25-22 and 25-13. The Lady Panthers finished up their evening with another 50/50 game, this time losing one to Evanston 22-25 before taking the second by an authoritative 25-6.

Saratoga’s Friday record ensured it would go on to play Saturday in the gold bracket.

“Our girls played a great game against Burlington,” Love said, adding the Huskies are a tough team with a strong record.

Against Burlington, the team had 9 kills and 69 attacks. Sophomores Aubrey Berger and Jenna Dew led the Panthers in kills with three each, and Berger turned in 15 attacks with Dew not far behind at 13. Saratoga also made 46 digs, with senior Kaylyn Herring accounting for the most, going for the deck 15 times.

Saturday, the Lady Panthers hit the court again, taking on the hosts of the tournament, The Farson-Eden Lady Pronghorns, Kaycee and conference rival Little Snake River Rattlers of Baggs. The Rattlers are defending state champions and are ranked second in the conference.

The Purple and Gold swept over the Lady Pronghorns, besting them in two games 25-19 and 25-20. Against the powerful Rattlers, the Panthers succumbed in two games, the first with a respectable 20-25 margin, and the second loss being a more resounding 25-8 against the ladies from across the Sierra Madres.

The loss to the Rattlers didn’t rattle the Lady Panthers’ cage though, as the ladies dusted themselves off and took on the Lady Buckaroos of Kaycee High School for the consolation gold. It took three games for the Panthers to take home the gold, scoring 25-18, 20-25 and 15-8 in the three-game match.

Kaycee is ranked first in their conference, so beating them is a bellwether for the Lady Panthers, Love said. The team, she said is beginning to come together to deliver results, and that right in time.

Next up on the lady’s docket is a non-conference game against the North Park Lady Wildcats of Walden, Colorado. After that, the Panthers will square off again against the Cokeville Panthers—the first-ranked team in the conference—and follow with a reprisal of their match against the second place Rattlers. The team will then take on non-conference Hanna-Elk Mountain-Medicine Bow Lady Miners in their final game of the regular season.

Love says that facing the two top ranked teams in the final two conference games of the season will make things tough on the Lady Panthers.

“A win against either one would be a huge thing,” Love said, adding that the possibility of pigtail match could help the Panthers earn a place at regionals. Such a pigtail match is being worked on, but is not yet set in stone, Love said.

The match would pit the fourth and fifth ranked teams in the conference against one another and would be held during the regional tournament.

“We’re headed in the right direction right now,” Love said of the team’s recent performance at the Farson Pronghorn Invite. “We need to keep moving forward and get some good competition under our belts.”

Thursday, the Lady Panthers will challenge the Lady Wildcats of Walden 4:30 p.m. at the Panther Den. The game will commemorate the race for a breast cancer cure, and all spectators are encouraged to wear pink in support, Love said.

Friday, the Saratoga Lady Panthers will travel to take on Lady Panthers of another sort in Cokeville, in Lincoln County.


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