Lady Panthers drop match to Lady Rattlers


After starting the season hot, the Saratoga Panthers volleyball team cooled off significantly over the weekend, losing their first conference match against Little Snake River. The girls dropped their conference debut in the minimum, losing 25-17, 25-11, and 25-20.

“I just felt like we were a little bit flat when we stepped on the floor and missed some serves that we haven’t missed up to this point,” coach Shayley Love said a few days later. She said while she had heaped praise on the Panthers recently for their consistent service and enthusiasm, energy levels were low Saturday and the team found it’s rhythm too late.

After a slow start in two matches that the Panthers lost by eight and 14 point differentials, Saratoga regained its balance to a degree in what would be the final game. “The third set we finally showed a little (competition), but by then it was too late,” Love said. Love said the team would be focusing on pre-game mental preparation in the week to come, and expressed confidence that the girls would shake off the Snake River blues and extend their claws against Walden Tuesday.

In that game, Love said she was “95 percent sure” that she would make some lineup changes. Shaelee Hamann would move from front right back to center, where she played last year, Love said. A freshman, Taylor Bennett, would likely assume Hamann’s front right position, Love said.

“I’m just kind of playing with some ideas,” Love explained, saying the shifts were experimental and not necessarily permanent. “I like that (my players) are so versatile, but sometimes that also puts me in a bad position,” Love said with a laugh. She said her versatile players let her experiment, but she doesn’t want to throw things out of whack by fiddling with too many things in a formula that’s proven largely successful in the nascent season.

Love said that after a flurry of competitions, she is looking forward to having a little more time to practice in between matches in the week to come. “I feel like we play a game, we have pre-game practice, then we play a game. It’s like every other night’s a pre-game for us,” Love said.

The Panthers play Walden Sept. 13 at home, then Laramie away Friday. The Cats will then face Kaycee Saturday at 1 p.m. A Junior Varsity game against Kaycee scheduled for Saturday was canceled because that team could not field sufficient players.


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