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PHS volleyball wins Riverton Invitational

Powell High School senior Brook Sweet (No. 1) and junior Jazlyn Haney (No. 11) attempt to block a spike from a Big Piney opponent during Saturday’s game at the Riverton Invitational.  In the background is senior Jordan Walsh (left) and junior Hartly Thorington (right). Powell High School senior Brook Sweet (No. 1) and junior Jazlyn Haney (No. 11) attempt to block a spike from a Big Piney opponent during Saturday’s game at the Riverton Invitational. In the background is senior Jordan Walsh (left) and junior Hartly Thorington (right). Photo courtesy Craig Blumenshine, Riverton Ranger

Lady Panthers a perfect 7-0 at season-opening tournament

The Lady Panthers volleyball team opened its season in fine fashion over the weekend, winning the Riverton Invitational with a 7-0 record — including a pair of wins over the host Lady Wolverines.

“This was a great way to start the season,” said head coach Randi Bonander.

The two-day tournament started Friday, with PHS squaring off against Thermopolis. The Lady Panthers made short work of the Lady Bobcats, winning 21-11 and 21-10.

Next up for the Lady Panthers was Shoshoni, with Powell winning 21-15 and 21-14.

Powell then went on to face Kemmerer, winning 21-19 and 21-14.

Those three wins earned Powell the right to play host Riverton Friday evening.

The game went to three sets, with the Lady Panthers winning the best two out of three, 21-20, 10-21 and 15-6.

“All the varsity girls were contributing at the same time in different ways,” Bonander said.

With a 4-0 record heading into Saturday, Powell played Wind River at 11 a.m., winning 25-18 and 25-10.

Next up for the Lady Panthers was Big Piney. Powell won both games 21-19.

With a 6-0 record for the tournament, the Lady Panthers were slated once again to play the hometown Riverton team for the championship.

This second matchup between the Lady Panthers and Lady Wolverines went to three games, with Powell winning the first game 21-16. Riverton bounced back to even it up with a 21-9 win. The Lady Panthers won the final game 11-8 to secure the championship and finish with a perfect 7-0 record.

“The high point of the weekend was defeating Riverton twice, because they have such a wide variety of talent,” Bonander said.

For the tournament, Aubrie Stenerson led the team in ace serves, with a total of eight, and kill hits, with a total of 26.

Natalie Birdsley had 11 digs and six ace serves. Rachel Bonander had 25 kills and Hartly Thorington had 20.

Of the tournament, coach Bonander said that “every team challenged us to work on something different which is only making us stronger and more aware of what we need to improve and what needs to keep happening.”

For the opening invitational of the year, coach Bonander also said the girls were having to work through communicating on defense and blockers in the front row were having to communicate to close every block.

The JV volleyball team also played in Riverton and also posted a 7-0 record to take first place.

“Their success pushes and helps the varsity team even more,” said coach Bonander. “Every time our girls step on the court, they are growing their skills. Lady Panther volleyball is grateful for the opportunity to compete and grow as a team.”

Next up for the Lady Panthers is a trip to Lovell to take on the Lady Bulldogs tonight (Tuesday) at 6 p.m.

“Lovell is always a good competition for us,” Bonander said. “They are always a scrappy team that makes plays when you think the ball will be dead.”

Friday and Saturday, Powell will play in Cody during a Wyoming/Montana tournament.

“WY/MT tourney is always fun and a great way to see some competition we don’t see during our season,” Bonander said.

Powell will play Friday at 1:30 p.m. on court two at the Sweitzer Gym against Billings Central and then again at 4:30 p.m. on court three in the Stock Gym against Hardin, Montana.

On Saturday, Powell will play Miles City at 9 a.m. on court one of the Sweitzer Gym and again at noon against Glendive, Montana.

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