The Saratoga Sun -

Lady Miners go to 2 for 3, head to Regionals


The proverbial roller coaster ride of a game was on display in Hanna, Medicine Bow, Elk Mountain (HEM) High School’s gym where the Lady Miners played Rock River High School’s volleyball team for the second time this year on Oct 17 at 4:30 p.m.

The first and second sets were won by the Lady Miners and the home crowd was elated, but the happiness quickly evaporated as Rock River Lady Longhorns came back, winning the next two.

The fans were getting the feeling the Lady Miners were going to lose to this team for a second time. Although the set was close, the Lady Miners pulled it off winning the set 16-14.

“To start with winning two sets, then dropping the next two, the girls showed their grit by winning the last set in such a close score,” said volleyball head coach Jackie Jones. “This volleyball game had two teams that played hard and fought it out to the very end.”

Jones pointed out this was a key win for the team.

“It was a big conference win for us, and the girls should be proud of what they accomplished on their home court,” Jones said.

On Friday at 4 p.m., the Lady Miners faced another conference opponent with Chugwater Lady Buffaloes. The Lady Miners won resoundingly in three sets, 25-4, 25-17 and 25-6.

Jones said she started her varsity players the first set in which the Lady Miners won.

“We know the Chugwater Lady Buffaloes are a building, developing team and so what we did was use our starting JV team and then our third set we started with all our freshmen and our sophomore,” Jones said explaining her strategy as she played a team that was under matched to the Lady Miners.

“We had some girls out there that don’t get a lot of playing time, especially in a varsity conference game,” Jones said. “They went out there and did well.”

Jones said she didn’t put in the less experienced Lady Miners to make the Lady Buffaloes feel bad. She only wanted to give her players who don’t get much time a chance on court.

“It wasn’t to rub the other team’s nose in our abilities, or anything like that, it was to get those girls out on the court after having a tough match on Tuesday.”

Jones was happy with the play of her team the past two games.

“I am really happy. The young girls have just blossomed,” Jones said. “There is really good feeling going into tomorrow.”

The game on Saturday at 3 p.m. on the Lady Miner’s home court, was after the Miner football came off an impressive win over the Midwest Oilers which some had considered a favorite. There was hope in the crowded gym, the Lady Miners would beat county rivals, the Saratoga Panthers. Like Rock River, the Lady Miners had lost their first meeting with the Lady Panthers and it was hoped by the home crowd, the Lady Panthers would fall to the Lady Miners on the second meeting.

The first set was back and forth between the two teams and then when both were at 16, the Lady Miners couldn’t score any more and it ended with the Lady Panthers 25-16. The next set was a roller coaster ride at 10 to 10. Saratoga pulled away and it was the Lady Panthers on top with 19 to the Lady Miners 13. Then the Lady Miners made a run and the score was Miners 21 to Panthers 20. The end of the game was hard fought, but the Lady Miners pulled it off beating the Lady Panthers 28-26.

The next set was just as close as the second and the crowd had visions of an upset when it was Lady Miners 18-17. Soon the score was 19-19 and then 26-26, but the Lady Panthers pulled it together and won 28-26.

The fourth game, it became apparent the Lady Miners were not over the loss from the set before. It was 6-14, but the Lady Miners did rally to 14-18, but the Lady Panthers pulled ahead when it mattered, winning 25-19.

Saratoga volleyball coach Shayley Love had good things to say about the Lady Miners.

“Hanna has come so far. Hanna is a team you can’t underestimate,” said Love. “They’re a scrappy team and they have a middle that has really improved over the seasons and they did some really great things against us.”

Jones said as the Lady Miners go into post season play, she is telling the upperclassmen, it is up to them to shoulder the burden of taking the team further.

“Both teams have improved since we met last time,” said Jones. “I think in all fairness, we got rocked back on our heels and we weren’t getting the ball back to our setter and that really effects us.”

Jones complimented Saratoga as she said, “Saratoga has some really good players and they get on top of the ball, so we changed our strategy defensively but we didn’t always look comfortable.”

She was happy with the team’s play in the second and third sets. “I think those two sets were some of the best we have played all season against a very good team.”

“Going to the regionals we are going to have to rely on the seniors to make the difference,” said Jones.

The Lady Miners are off to the regionals in Wheatland on Friday.


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