The Saratoga Sun -

Season ends for Saratoga

Lady Panthers fall 2-3 to Little Snake River Valley in quadrant tournament


November 4, 2020

The Saratoga Lady Panthers’ hopes of returning to the 1A State Championship were cut short on Thursday as they were dealt a loss by the Little Snake River Valley (LSRV) Lady Rattlers (11-9, 4-4) while at the 1A Southwest Quadrant Tournament in Cokeville.

With both teams bearing a 4-4 conference record, the Lady Panthers went into the first round of the tournament expecting some tough competition.

“The girls put up a great match against LSRV,” said Shayley Love, head coach of the Lady Panthers. “We knew going in that it would be a hard fought match because we are so even in our play. We had some girls really step up and have one of their best games of the season.”

During the regular season, LSRV had dealt a loss in just three sets to the Lady Panthers when they hosted Saratoga in September. When Saratoga hosted the Lady Rattlers in October, however, the Lady Panthers had managed to defang LSRV in a 3-2 game.

Saratoga and the Lady Rattlers went across five sets in one of the first matches of the qaurand tournament. The Lady Panthers took both the 1st and 3rd sets 25-23 while LSRV took the 2nd set 19-25, the 4th set 23-25 and the 5th set 11-15.

“Nerves may have been a factor in some of the consistency of the match itself. Overall, we had a great match but I feel serving really was the one thing that hurt us. We would get momentum and then it seemed our serving deflated us a bit,” Love said. “I don’t want to take away how hard the girls competed, though. You can see by the stats that we had some pretty great numbers put up by our girls.”

The stats don’t lie.

Attacking the net, sophomore Whitney Bennett had 19 kills against the Lady Rattlers. Senior Savannah Wells and sophomore Oliva Everett each had 6 kills and sophomore Shelby Knotwell had 5 kills. Seniors Lexi Herring and Sam Duke and freshman Makenna King each had 3 kills against the Lady Rattlers.

Everett led in serving with 4 aces against LSRV. Duke, King, Bennett and senior Tasia Daley all served 2 aces against the Lady Rattlers.

Daley hit the floor with 45 digs and was followed by Bennett with 36 digs, Herring with 24 digs, Wells with 18 digs, Duke with 14 digs and King with 12 digs.

“I think this says a lot when someone may not be on their game and others rise to the occasion to help their team pull through,” said Love. “We had a couple of opportunities and, in the 4th set, I really felt they were going to finish the match and make another state appearance but were just a bit short and got pushed to the 5th set.”

Unfortunately, that 5th set saw the Lady Panthers eventually fall to LSRV. The Lady Rattlers moved on to 1A Southwest Quadrant Championship and were dispatched by the Cokeville Lady Panthers in three sets.

While Saratoga may not have made a second appearance at the 1A State Championship Tournament, Love is pleased with how the Lady Panthers played throughout the season.

“I feel the girls did well this season, considering all of the factors with COVID and such,” Love said. “Our goal was to finish the season and not be shut down and we were successful in that area.”

Following their loss to the Lady Rattlers, Saratoga hangs up their nets with a 9-9 season record and a 4-4 conference record. While Love will likely see some of her heavy hitters, such as Bennett, Knotwell and Everett, returning to the roster next season she will be losing four seniors as this was the final season for Daley, Duke, Herring and Wells.


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