Lady Panthers dig into new season
Saratoga netters go 1-1 as they face 1A Dubois and 2A Shoshoni in Saturday double-header
September 2, 2020
Shayley Love, head coach of the Saratoga Lady Panthers, said her netters had a great start to their season following a double-header on Saturday against the 1A Dubois Lady Rams (3-0) and the 2A Shoshoni Lady Wranglers (0-3). Following the two games over the weekend, the Lady Panthers are 1-1.
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“Being our first game of the season and playing with a new line up, I was pleased with how our team performed,” said Love. “We did a great job of making Dubois compete with us and came out with the win. We were able to see how some of our new combinations on the floor were going to work and what we needed to do defensively to excel.”
The Lady Panthers certainly didn’t seem to let extended downtime over the spring and summer keep them from hitting the ground running as they sunk their claws into Dubois. In the first set, Saratoga won 25-15. That would be the highest the Lady Rams would score on Saturday as the second set ended 25-11 and the third set ended 25-10.
The stats appear to show that the Lady Panthers are ready for the season as well. Sophomore Whitney Bennett led the team in kills with 10 against Dubois and was followed by sophomore Olivia Everett with 5 kills. Senior Savannah Wells and senior Sam Duke each had 5 kills against the Lady Rams and sophomore Shelby Knotwell had 2 kills.
Senior Tasia Daley joined Wells in leading the team in serving, with each dealing 5 aces to the Lady Rams. Senior Lexi Herring served 4 aces and Bennett served 3 aces against Dubois. Additionally, Herring had a 100 percent serving percentage.
Daley, who has spent her entire high school career as libero for the Lady Panthers, showed she can still dig deep for Saratoga as she had 10 digs against the Lady Rams. Digging against Dubois was a team effort on Saturday it seems as Knotwell and Wells each had 7 digs, Bennett and Herring each had 6 digs, Duke had 4 digs and Everett had 2 digs.
With Dubois behind at least 10 points each set, the Lady Panthers celebrated their first win of the season.
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Following their win against Dubois, the Lady Panthers traveled to Shoshoni to face the Lady Wranglers. Despite facing a team from a higher conference, both the coach and the players appeared to take some positives from the 0-3 match.
“We lost the match, but I was happy with the performance for the most part,” Love said. “I have two rotations that I need to work on with the girls to make us a bit stronger, something we hadn’t been able to see until we really played.”
Love added that it was fun to watch both the defense and the serve receive of her girls and that the game against Shoshoni was a quicker tempo than the one against the Lady Rams earlier that day.
“The girls even mentioned that they felt like things were starting to click and pick up from where we left off last year,” said Love.
Bennett, again, was the lead killer for the Lady Panthers with 6 kills against Shoshoni. Following Bennett was Wells with 4 kills, Everret and Duke with 3 kills each, and Herring with 2 kills.
In serving against the Lady Wranglers, Daley served 2 aces and was followed by Wells and Herring, who each served one. Bennett, while not serving any aces, saw 100 percent serve success across 8 serves.
Saratoga did a lot of digging against the Lady Wranglers with Bennett digging 21 times, Wells digging 20 times, Duke digging 14 times and Daley digging 11 times.
Through the combined effort of the Lady Panthers, they were able to keep the scores close against Shoshoni as they went 15-25, 17-25, 18-25.
“We will work on a few things this week to gain consistency and head to a tough round robin in Rock Springs this coming weekend,” Love said.
The Rock Springs Round Robin will be on September 5. Following that, the Lady Panthers will host the Rock River Lady Longhorns on September 10 and the Encampment Lady Tigers on September 11.