By Breanne Thiel
The Powell High School junior varsity volleyball competed at the Rawlins Invitational where they advanced to the championship match of the gold bracket on Friday, September 7th and Saturday, September 8th.
“I was really proud on the improvements of our team,” said junior varsity coach Tasha Miller. “It was great to see the little things that each girl has been working on individually and how it came together for the whole team.”
The Lady Panthers played a total of three games on Friday with the first opponent being Newcastle.
“We had a rough start in the first set against them, having a lot of errors all around, but still managed to pull off the win,” said Miller adding that is “always hard getting off the bus and getting ready to play after a long drive. Heading into the second set the girls were able to pull it together and we had a lot less errors!”
Powell beat Newcastle in two sets, 21-19 and 21-12.
The second opponent was Lyman.
“Lyman is a great team so I was excited to play a very competitive match,” Miller said. “My girls played great we just couldn’t quite pull off the win, but I was very proud at how well they played.”
Lyman won in two sets 20-21 and 17-21.
Friday’s last match of the day was against Wheatland and Powell won 21-13 and 21-11.
“We had very little errors so it made the match go quick,” said Miller.
Friday’s tournament record determined which bracket the teams would play in on Saturday and Powell’s 2-1 record placed them in the Gold Bracket.
The first game of the Gold Bracket was against Mountain View which went to three sets.
Powell won the first match 21-12, lost the second 21-17 and came back in the third to win 15-10.
The win over Mountain View placed the Lady Panthers against Lander
“We struggled in the first set to get things going,” Miller said of the 21-19 loss in the first set.. “Then we were able to pull it together and play our game.”
The Lady Panthers won the next two sets 21-10 and 15-8 to win the game.
The win over the Lady Tigers placed the Lady Panthers in the championship game against Lyman.
“I knew it was going to be a battle,” said Miller. “I was so proud of how well the girls had played against them the day before and thought since this was the championship game and we knew what to expect, it would be a great match. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out ready to play and handed them the game.”
Powell lost to Lyman in two sets, 21-7 and 21-14.
For the tournament as a whole, Miller said that overall she “was proud of the improvements we made!”
Rose Graft led the weekend in kills with 20, Mattie Larsen followed with 19, both Sabrina Shoopman and Gabby Harshman had 12 and Paije Johnson had 11.
Graft also led in blocks with seven solos, followed by Shoopman with six solos and Harshman with five solos.
Madi Fields led the team with eight ace serves for the weekend, followed by Harshman with six and Paije Johnson with five.
Miller said the back row “had some great passes and digs over the weekend. Michele Wagner, who was my setter last year, has stepped into my libero spot and has done a phenomenal job for our team. I’m excited to see us continue to grow and improve over the season!”