By Mike Dunn 

Lady Tigers sweep the weekend

Encampment continues winning streak, earn sweep in four straight games

 

Mike Dunn

McKenzie Powell pulls out the six-shooters to celebrate a successful block against the defending champion Cokeville Panthers last Friday. The Lady Tigers swept Southeast Conference rivals Cokeville and Farsen-Eden

If there was even a shred of doubt the Encampment Lady Tiger volleyball team (4-0, 15-1) was a force to be reckoned with, it was surely removed this weekend.

The Lady Tigers pulled off two impressive wins this weekend against conference rivals, sweeping both Farsen-Eden (0-3, 5-10), with a scores of 25-11, 25-16, 25-15; and the defending state champions Cokeville (0-2, 9-15) with scores of 25-17, 25-19, 25-21.

The wins put the Lady Tigers in first place in the Southwest Conference, 1.5 games ahead of Little Snake River. This weekend marks three straight games where they have swept their opponent.

In Friday's match against the Cokeville Lady Panthers, Encampment head coach Robin O'Leary said their success came through preparation.

"We had been looking forward to this game all year," O'Leary said.

Last Friday's game was won Monday through Thursday on the practice court. O'Leary said her team had put in a new defense, and had worked on improving their speed on offense.

"We put in a new defense," O'Leary said. "But we worked on all parts of our game."

The Lady Tigers controlled the game from the opening serve, which was exactly what O'Leary wanted out of her players. She added her girls played with lots of passion and intensity.

"It gives us a better idea of where we stand in 1A division," O'Leary said.

Even though she expected her team to win, O'Leary was surprised to see her players sweep Cokeville.

Notable performers from the Cokeville game included Alyssa Barkhurst with 9 kills and McKenze Powell with 8 kills and 5 blocks

The Lady Tigers would continue to dominate Saturday. The Lady Tigers handled the Farson-Eden Lady Pronghorns in three straight sets. Encampment and Farson-Eden had faced each other on several occasions throughout the season, and O'Leary said her team played as expected.


"We were pretty much on top of those games," O'Leary said. "We didn't play as well as we did (against Cokeville), but we got the job done."

Barkhurst once again led the Lady Tigers with 13 kills followed by Cassidy Little scoring 8 kills.

O'Leary has as very simple explanation for their success: they have the right personnel. The Lady Tigers have a solid combination of hitters, setters and blockers - which is something O'Leary has been hoping for since she began coaching

"I would say our biggest strength is that we play as a team. The setting do a great job setting up the hitters, we have girls that forgive each other for mistakes ... they play more as a team than any other team I have ever coached."

Even with their impressive record, and having yet to lose to a 1A team, O'Leary said her team is taking it one game at a time and not looking towards the state championships. She said the Lady Tigers will continue to work on the basics and continue to improve every day at practice.

The Encampment Lady Tigers continue their dominance of 1A teams this weekend when they travel to Rock River and Walden. Even with two away games in a row, O'Leary said she feels confident her team will be successful.

"We have played very well on the road," O'Leary said. "It doesn't seem to really every be an issue for us."

The game at Rock River begins at 4 p.m. Friday. Saturday, the Lady Tigers travel to Walden for a 1 p.m. game time.

 

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