Serving up losses

 

FW Broschart

Paige Powell serves against Rock River Saturday. The defending state champion Lady Tigers continue their dominance versus all foes.

Encampment High School girls' varsity volleyball team extended its undefeated winning streak with two matches over the weekend.

The team faced off at home against the Hanna-Elk Mountain-Medicine Bow (HEM) Miners on Friday at 4 p.m., taking the match in three sets. Saturday, the Tigers hosted the Lady Longhorns of Rock River High School, handily defeating Rock River in three sets to take the match.

Both visiting teams were under duress because of injuries and illnesses, Robin O'Leary, coach of the Tigers Volleyball team, said.

"Hanna had one of their key players go down in warmup and were a bit frazzled by that," O'Leary said. "Rock River had several sick players. One of their key players was out due to a stomach flu and several more got it during the game."

The varsity squad defeated the Miners in three sets, scoring 25-13 in the first, 25-8 in the second and 25-20 in the last. Though the Miners made a rally in the last set, it was not enough to overcome the Encampment's early banked points.

Encampment had the opportunity to rotate though a few of its subs and they all performed well, O'Leary said, heaping praise on her team for working well together and having a good sense of cohesion.

"Strong leadership (by players on the court) and being a good teammate are two of the things that help us play better," O'Leary said. "Everyone on the team is important."

Seven players served against the Miners, and all had at least one ace, according to statistics compiled by the team. Micaiah Pantle served 12 times and got three aces for the effort. Hailey Barkhurst had 15 serves and two aces.

On defense, the team made 28 digs and 4 blocks over the course of the match, with Cheyanne Jordan making six digs and Pantle making five.

Saturday's game against Rock River saw another foe come to Encampment who was hobbled due to player illness. A key player got a stomach flu, O'Leary said, and the illness had spread to other members of the team.

"They had a lot of new players on the floor to step up and help them," O'Leary said.

Rock River's losses to the Tigers were just about as acute as a bad stomach flu, with the Tigers winning the match in three sets, 25-5, 25-18 and 25-16. The Longhorns showed some zeal in the second and third sets, but again the Tigers' momentum was too much to overcome.


Barkhurst again was the predominant server in the match, serving 21 times with four aces. Sierra Martinez hit three aces.

O'Leary highlighted serving as a key strong point for Encampment in the team's game against Rock River. "Our serving made it difficult for Rock River to get an aggressive return on the ball," O'Leary said.

Defensively, the team turned in 20 digs. The team hit 32 kills, with Paige Powell delivering 11, and McKenzie Powell making 10.

Despite these numbers, O'Leary said this week in practice the team would be focusing heavily on defense.

O'Leary said Monday afternoon that the team had a good practice and that team morale was up.

"They come to practice ready to work, and to push themselves and teammates in a friendly way and that is more than any coach can ask for," she said.

When asked if the teams' undefeated record might have had something to do with the positive mood on the team, O'Leary said that could be a contributing factor, but mostly she believes it's the fact her student athletes love the game so much and enjoy playing it with their teammates.

Likewise, O'Leary agreed that the team's winning record and attitude may be intimidating to some teams, as well as the skill and size of the players.

"We have a fairly tall team and some really athletic girls for a 1A team," she said. "Most of them are at least 5'7" and that is tall for a 1A team.

"Really though, it's their competitive and serious nature; They do take it seriously."

Sept. 23 will see the Tigers in for a rematch with the H-E-M Miners in Hanna. On Sept 24, the team will host Farson-Eden at home at 11 a.m. at Encampment K-12 school.

FW Broschart

The Encampment varsity volleyball team takes the to court.

 

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