Volleyball squad takes silver medal at Rawlins tourney

Posted 9/14/21

The Panther volleyball team had a slow start at the Rawlins Invitational Friday. But how you finish is what’s important and Powell finished big, winning the silver bracket championship Saturday …

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Volleyball squad takes silver medal at Rawlins tourney

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The Panther volleyball team had a slow start at the Rawlins Invitational Friday. But how you finish is what’s important and Powell finished big, winning the silver bracket championship Saturday by taking three straight matches.

In its opening match, Powell played a tough Mountain View team even through the first two sets. The Panthers took the second set 25-21 to head to the third and final set tied 1-1. However, the team lost the final set 25-11, one of their worst sets of the season.

PHS head coach Lesli Spencer said the team is still learning how to step on the court after big wins and losses.

“After lows or highs, we’re still figuring out how to reset and refocus,” she said. “We have gained strides, but against Mountain View in that third set, they just could not find their groove.”

Later that night, the Panthers lost 0-2 to Douglas, 25-16, 25-18 and Spencer said they just weren’t ready to play.

Instead of digging up a big motivational speech, the coach decided to try something different.

“We just let it go. We didn’t talk about it,” she said.

The team had a good meal and then showed up early to the 15-team tournament Saturday ready to play. They started the day beating Rawlins 2-0, making quick work of the hosts, 21-13, 21-13.

Wheatland was up next and the Panthers were still ready to roll. They dispatched the Bulldogs 21-12, 21-17.

The final challenge, in the silver bracket championship match, was conference rival Worland. The Panthers won a close first set, 21-19, but then fell behind the Warriors in the second set, 0-7. That’s when the difference between Friday and Saturday was like night and day. Powell stabilized, coming back to win the set 21-16 and securing the consolation trophy.

Spencer’s gamble worked.

“Sometimes it’s important to not dwell on the past and what happened when you know that’s not what their potential is,” she said. “Everybody has a bad day occasionally.”

The Panthers have two conference matches up next, meeting Lander at home Thursday and Worland Saturday — though the location of the match has yet to be determined, Spencer said.

PHS previously met Lander at the Riverton Invite, getting swept by the Tigers in two straight sets.

“Lander is a solid team,” Spencer said. “We’re going to have to be ready to go when we step on the court. They’re going to be coming in gunning for us.”

Worland will be looking for revenge and has proved they can get out to a big lead.

“Both teams are very well coached,” Spencer said. “So they’ll be prepared.”

The Powell junior varsity and freshman teams both won their tournaments last weekend, giving Spencer big hopes for the future of the program. The JV squad won the gold bracket in Rawlins and the freshmen won their tournament in Buffalo.

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