By Breanne Thiel
The Powell High School Volleyball team will hit the 2018 season on the road playing in three invitationals/tournaments and two away games before making their debut at home against in Worland on September 15.
The first invitational is this weekend in Riverton, where last season, the Lady Panthers were the champions. Then on Tuesday, August 28, the team will travel to play Thermopolis at 6 p.m. and the team will end the month’s competition in Cody at the MT/WY Border War the 31st of August and 1st of September.
September 7th and 8th will be the Rawlins Invitational followed by traveling to Lander on Friday, September 14.
“Last season we started out strong winning the Riverton tournament and beating Rawlins in one set during the pool play tournament they hosted,” said head coach Randi Bonander. “This was a huge confidence builder for our team. After some tough losses to Billings Senior and Riverton we couldn’t quite recover our confidence.”
Coach Bonander also said that last season had some mid-season challenges where the “younger girls stepped up and embraced their opportunity.”
A total of 40 girls tried out for volleyball and 31 made the team.
“Out of the 20 upperclassmen, we have 18 returning which will definitely keep improving our program,” said coach Bonander.
The other 11 are freshman.
This year the Lady Panthers will have a total of nine seniors – seven of which have been playing together since seventh grade, eight are returning and the ninth is a new student.
The senior squad includes Jasmyne Lensegrav, Aubrie Stenerson, Natalie Ostermiller, Ashtyn Heny, Jazlyn Haney, Hartly Thornington, Rachel Bonander, Devon Curtis and Beck McConahay.
Coach Bonander said the team’s “senior leaders from last year will be Hartly Thorington, Aubrie Stenerson, Rachel Bonander, Natalie Ostermiller, and Jazlyn Haney all of which played all season along with Ashtyn Heny, Devon Curtis, Jasmyne Lensegrav getting some playing time towards the middle and end of the season. And our new team member Becky McConahay brings a variety of front row skills to our team, which will just make us that much more consistent.”
Also joining the varsity squad will be junior Gabi Metzler – who will also play JV.
“We will rely on junior Gabi Metzler to not only lead the JV team setting, but also be the second setter for our varsity team,” said coach Bonander.
The junior varsity team is comprised of five juniors and five sophomores.
Juniors are Michele Wagner, Gabby Harshman, Kady Wells, Sabrina Shoopman and Metzler.
Sophomores include, Mattie Larsen, Rose Graft, Madi Fields, Elsie Spomer, Payton Asher and Paije Johnson.
Coach Bonader said that “the great thing about the younger girls on JV is they are so coachable and willing to improve for the betterment of the team as a whole. JV coach Tasha Miller will be grooming the juniors and sophomores for next year due to the fact we will lose nine seniors.”
The eleven freshman are Ashleyn Shorb, Taylor Paul, Payton Wells, Jenna Hillman, Abigail Urbach, Maddie Argento, Emerson Wormald, Beth Brazelton, Sarah Dunkerley, Megan Good and Abby Bradleyl.
“Our new freshman coach Mackenzie Graft is really in tune with helping build the program by concentrating on skills and consistency vs. winning, along with growing the freshman into multi-skill volleyball players for the future,” coach Bonander said. “I have no doubt the winning will come with the freshman as they build their skills throughout the season.”
Coach Bonander said that this season’s motto is Attitude of Gratitude.
“My coaching philosophy is that I am a lifelong learner, and every year I am reading and attending coaches clinics to improve my abilities,” said coach Bonander adding that “all the best coaches do this, they are never satisfied with a championship because there is always something that can be improved.”
Coach Bonander continued with saying that she also believes “in focusing on the controllables, I can’t control what other teams do, but I can make sure that every practice we are working to improve all parts of our game. If we do that all season long with an Attitude of Gratitude, we will be successful as a team, program, and in life.”
The 3A West Regional Volleyball Tournament will take place in Mountain View on October 26 and October 27.
The 3A State Volleyball Championships will be in Casper November 1st through the 3rd.
To see a copy of the 2018 varsity schedule please click here
To see a copy of the 2018 junior varsity schedule please click here
To see a copy of the 2018 freshman schedule please click here