Lady Tigers struggle with rival cats
Encampment Volleyball works to get sophomores up to speed as they lose to Walden, Saratoga
September 26, 2018
The young Encampment Lady Tigers continue to struggle through their season as they suffered two more losses last week. Encampment fell to the North Park Lady Wildcats (9-25, 25-27, 21-25) in Walden, Colo. on Thursday and their Valley rivals the Saratoga Lady Panthers (14-25, 18-25, 20-25) on Saturday. Despite these losses, the Lady Tigers are continuing to prove that they are finding their place in the conference as many of the sophomore players hone their skills.
Encampment vs. North Park
The Lady Tigers traveled across the Wyoming/Colorado border on Thursday to face off against North Park and, despite a rough first set, would manage to keep it close the following two sets. Despite their attempts to dispatch the Lady Wildcats, Encampment would return to Tiger Nation 0-3 from their match against the Northern Colorado volleyball team.
"North Park was an all out struggle for us," said Robin Brown, head coach of the Lady Tigers. "We started off making a lot of unforced errors and were not able to turn our game around."
Sophomore Ryley Henrie had 100 percent serving success against the Lady Wildcats, however, and also served three aces. Henrie was followed by senior Noelle Peterson and fellow sophomore Grace Tieszen, who both had one ace.
Peterson attacked the net 26 times against North Park and had five kills in total. Lauren Buford, the other senior on the team, attacked the net 21 times and had four kills.
Libero Lindsie Farver had 10 successful digs against the Lady Wildcats as did Peterson. Buford had eight digs and sophomore Lizzie James had four.
Henrie was also named the Encampment "Player of the Match" against North Park, according to MaxPreps, for her "ability to play a new position and for her excellent serve position."
Encampment vs. Saratoga
On Saturday, Encampment took on Saratoga's Lady Panthers (4-1, 11-1) for the second time this season. Looking for payback following Saratoga's win against them on their home court, the Lady Tigers would play hard across all three sets. While the first set saw Encampment fall by 11 points, the Encampment girls would attempt to use the second and third set to turn the game around.
"Saratoga was a battle from both teams," Brown said. "We stepped up our game a little, but so did Saratoga. Both teams were hitting and serving well."
Within the first few minutes of the second set, the Lady Tigers surged ahead by five before Saratoga took the ball and scored. Encampment took it back, scored again and the Lady Panthers followed suit. After several extended rallies, Saratoga tied the beginning of the second set 7-7 and the Valley rivals fought point for point through most of the set. Part of being able to help the Lady Tigers stay in the game was sophomore Katie Russell.
Brown would substitute senior Lauren Buford for Russell for serves. As the young Lady Tiger would begin to prepare herself, fellow teammates on the bench would cheer her on, shouting, "Oh! Oh! Oh! You ain't ready for The Russ!"
More often than not, Saratoga wasn't ready, as Russell skillfully guided the ball into the Lady Panther's court to score for Encampment. Several times, Russell's serves proved just enough to evade Saratoga's libero to rack up points for the Lady Tigers.
The third set between Encampment and Saratoga was evidence of the Lady Tiger's improving skills and their ability to work towards a win. Several times throughout the final set, it looked as if the ladies of Encampment would force the match into a fourth set as they would force extended rallies onto the Lady Panthers. Those leads, however, would fall as Saratoga would fight back.
"We gave up large leads in both the second and third sets," said Brown, "so that is something we will be working on in the weeks to come."
Following their losses, Encampment is now 0-5 for their conference and 2-8 for the season.
The Lady Tigers have only one game this next week as they host the Rock River Lady Longhorns at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29.