Powell High School’s biggest obstacle to winning on the volleyball court last Tuesday evening was, ironically, named Powell — as in Paige Powell.
Powell, a powerful, athletic hitter for Cody, unofficially recorded 16 kills on the night to lead the Fillies to a 25-15, 25-19, 25-20 win over the Lady Panthers before a lively crowd at Panther Gymnasium.
Cody (17-2), the No. 4 team in Class 4A, dominated from the start, scoring the first three points of the opening set and not trailing in the match until the Lady Panthers (13-8-1) took an 11-10 lead in the second set.
“Cody is a strong team, but our girls attacked their passers with aggressive serves,” Powell coach Randi Bonander said. “Once Rachel [Bonander], Devon [Curtis] and Jazlyn [Haney] figured out their blocking timing and being purposeful with their hands, we slowed their hitters down considerably.”
However, that lead was short-lived, as the Fillies scored five of the next six points — including three kills by Paige Powell — to retake the lead.
Aubrie Stenerson’s kill pulled the Lady Panthers within one point (19-18), but PHS could come no closer the rest of the set.
The Lady Panthers came alive in the third set, using strong serving from Rachel Bonander and Natalie Ostermiller — along with strong hitting — to build up a 17-7 lead.
However, Cody rallied, as Paige Powell recorded four kills during an 11-0 run that gave the Fillies an 18-17 lead.
The Lady Panthers tied it twice more on kills by Haney and Hartly Thorington, respectively, but Cody scored six of the set’s final seven points to close out the set and the match.
Stenerson unofficially led Powell with six kills, while Thorington added five and Haney had 4 1/2. Ostermiller, Stenerson and Rachel Bonander led Powell with two aces apiece on the evening.
Stenerson had 11 digs, while Ostermiller added nine and Thorington had seven.
“Aubrie, Hartly and Jazlyn worked to find holes in their [Cody’s] defense,” coach Bonander said. “And our defense, including Jasmyne [Lensegrav], Ashtyn [Heny], Natalie, Gabi [Metzler] and Becky [McConahay] worked to make sure very few balls dropped. We definitely had lapses, but we had some phenomenal volleyball play also. I told the girls after the game I was proud of them, so soak up the moment with all the positives from the match and we [addressed] the challenges on Thursday.”
The Lady Panthers are back on the court Friday and Saturday, when they head to Lander Valley for conference duals before beginning the second half of their quadrant schedule on Tuesday, Oct. 9, in Worland.
“As for next weekend, we will prepare one practice at a time,” coach Bonander said. “We’ve played Pinedale and Lyman at early season tournaments and watched both Mt. View and Big Piney, so we know what to focus on.”