The Saratoga Sun -

Lady Panthers split week

Saratoga wins against Walden, drops close games to Cokeville


The Saratoga Lady Panthers had a mixed week last week, easily defeating the Lady Wildcats of North Park School of Walden, Colorado, at home but giving up Friday’s road game against the Cokeville Lady Panthers, reducing the chances for the team to make the playoffs this year.

Thursday, the Panthers handily defeated the Wildcats of Colorado in three games, scoring 25-22 in the first, and 25-20 in the second and third games.

On both defense and offense, the Lady Panthers did well, according to Saratoga head coach Shayley Love. “The girls played a pretty solid match against Walden, things just seemed to click pretty well.”

“Aubrey (Berger, a sophomore) had a great game as far as hitting out of the front row and our defense was pretty solid that night,” Love added.

On offense, Berger and fellow sophomore Jenna Dew hit 29 and 31 attacks, accounting for a decent share of the team’s total 128 attacks. On Defense, the team hit 26 kills and 68 digs.

For Friday, the Lady Panthers came headed away from home to visit Cokeville to take on no. 1 ranked Cokeville on their home turf. The match was especially important to Saratoga who is still on the hunt for a spot in regionals.

Against Cokeville, the team lost in three games, but by respectable and competitive margins, denying Cokeville the kind of blowout it has become accustomed to.

The Panthers lost 19-25, 11-25 and 17-25.

“Friday night we didn’t play poorly,” Love explained. “As far as the first and third set where we played them pretty tight, we were pretty much point-for-point until about 15 with them, then the momentum just got broke a little bit.”

The team, Love said, ran into some problems with setting the ball and getting called for double-hits. That rattled the girls a little bit, Love said, allowing Cokeville to capitalize on the errors.

“I guess against Cokeville, we had a hard time being able to set the ball up, because they kind of took our setters out and when our setters did have the ball, we got a few nice sets off then it seems like we lost some momentum cause we were getting called for some double hits,” Love said. “So we get called for that and we can’t get the set anywhere so that we can actually put it away, and I think that took us out of our game a little bit.”

The Lady Panther’s defense is strong, Love says, explaining that the team did a good job of digging the ball and picking up on defense, denying scoring chances to Cokeville. Offense though struggled against the Panthers from Cokeville, Love said.

Overall, the team went on the attack 106 times against Cokeville, with Berger reprising her role as a Saratoga hitter to watch. Junior Tiffany Bauer made 20 attacks. Defensively Berger had 4 kills and 7 digs.

Though when it came to digging against Cokeville, senior Kaylyn Herring and junior Mychaela Jackman lead the Lady Panthers with 20 and 18 digs, respectively.

“As far as the match goes, I’m not disappointed because I felt like the girls came and competed against Cokeville,” Love said. “I just keep saying this, but if all six of our girls could fire on all cylinders at one time, I really think we’ll have an amazing game to watch but it’s just a matter of getting to that point.”

The next game on the Panthers’ schedule will be just as critical, and probably as difficult as the outing against Cokeville. It’s the last home game for the Panthers, and a must win game for the team. The girls will be taking on the Rattlers of Little Snake River School in Baggs.

Love said that the team’s hopes on making playoffs are pinned to a pigtail game. If the team beats the Rattlers Friday, they will likely earn a spot in that pigtail game. If they don’t win, the team will lose its hopes of making the postseason.

Since it’s the final home game of the season, Love said it would be the team’s senior night where seniors are honored. She’d like to see the stands filled for that, she said. Not only to honor seniors in their last year of high school play, but just to show support for the team.

Friday’s game against the Rattlers is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Panther Den in Saratoga.


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