Not the same team

Encampment Lady Tigers head coach reflects on regionals and regular season

While the Encampment Lady Tigers struggled with losses throughout the regular season, they ended it by advancing to the consolation semifinals during the 1A West Regional tournament over the weekend. A win across three sets against the Farson-Eden Lady Pronghorns (25-17, 25-17, 25-18) last Monday secured Encampment's place in the tournament. 

At the tournament, the Lady Tigers would fall to the Meeteetse Lady Longhorns (11-25, 19-25, 15-25) before defeating the Dubois Lady Rams (25-18, 25-19, 25-17). In the semifinal consolation round, however, Encampment would suffer a loss to the Little Snake River Valley (LSRV) Lady Rattlers (15-25, 13-25, 18-25).

"It was quite an exciting week for sure," said Robin Brown, head coach of the Lady Tigers.

Lady Tigers vs.

Lady Pronghorns

"We have played Farson several times this year, so we know what to expect and we knew we would need to stay focused and be ready for any ball to come back to us," Brown said. "Going in, I knew it would be a game of mental focus and whichever team could stay in control would win the game."

Encampment, before the pigtail game, had faced the Lady Pronghorns three other times with the first being at the Saratoga Invite in August. While Farson-Eden won against the Lady Tigers in four sets in September, Encampment reversed it when they defeated the Lady Pronghorns on their own court in October.

"The girls came out and played with focus and played with heart. I was proud of how well they played as a team. It was great to see them have fun and be successful," said Brown.

Lady Tigers vs.

Lady Longhorns

Following their win against Farson-Eden, the Lady Tigers had to face No. 1 Northwest ranked Meeteetse (20-6-3, 8-0). While Encampment would bring it close, within 6 points during the second set, the Lady Longhorns would ultimately send the Lady Tigers to the consolation bracket.

Lady Tigers vs.

Lady Rams

Determined not to get all the way to the regional tournament and head home in two games, Encampment brought a fight to the No. 3 Northwest ranked Lady Rams (3-16-1, 3-5). Dubois had been sent to the consolation bracket following a loss to the Saratoga Lady Panthers earlier that day. They would also be given a loss and sent home by Encampment as the Lady Tigers defeated them in three sets.

Lady Tigers vs.

Lady Rattlers

Following the win against Dubois, the Lady Tigers went on to face No. 3 Southwest ranked LSRV (22-11-1, 4-4) on Saturday morning. The Lady Rattlers had won against Encampment twice during the regular season with the game in October going across five sets. In the tournament, LSRV won in three and sent the Lady Tigers home with their second loss of the weekend.

"This weekend we had some tough matches at regionals," said Brown. "We had a few bumps along the way and the end result wasn't what we were hoping for. However, we did a lot of good things, too. The girls showed how much they grew with their fundamentals, team play and mental toughness. They fought hard and left it all out on the court at the end."

Brown said that, looking back on the season, she is "incredibly proud" of the growth that the Lady Tigers have had over the season.

"They came into practice every single day and worked hard to improve, which they did," Brown said. "We are not the same team we were in August. The girls were willing to accept criticism and work to improve in every part of the game. They consistently put the needs of the team before their own desires.

The Lady Tigers' head coach looks forward to next year as they will not be losing any seniors and will have at least all nine players returning to the court.

"This is a great group of girls with an excellent work ethic and even better enthusiasm for volleyball and for the Tiger team," said Brown. "It will be an exciting year."


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