At 6-2, Middle Park can’t relax now, coach says |

At 6-2, Middle Park can’t relax now, coach says

Panthers excited to face West Grand next week in Kremmling

Middle Park came to play Tuesday night, dominated and put the Platte Canyon Huskies away in straight sets.

The Panthers’ offense relied heavily on Middle Park’s upperclasswomen. Junior Elizabeth Hammond and senior Brianna Renteria led the attack with 12 aces each. Senior Katie Trail chipped in nine, and senior Dominyka Reventaite recorded seven kills.

Middle Park sophomore Bella Svoboda bumps the ball Tuesday in Granby. Eli Pace /

Other impressive stat lines for Middle Park included sophomore Bella Svoboda’s five aces, seven digs and 41 assists. Senior Maggie Pfeiffer had four digs and an ace, and Trail added 12 digs to her nine kills.

After the game, coach Kelly Friesen said the Panthers committed too many hitting errors for her liking, but the coach was still pleased with her team’s overall performance, which had Middle Park sporting a 5-2 record following the game.

Middle Park senior Katie Trail serves the ball in a Tuesday game against Platte Canyon in Granby. Trail logged nine kills and 12 digs and the Panthers won 3-0. Eli Pace /

In addition to Middle Park’s teamwork, Friesen highlighted exceptional individual performances from Trail, Renteria and one of the team’s unsung heroes.

“(Tuesday night) that person absolutely was Kayla McKibben,” Friesen said of her unsung hero in the Platte Canyon contest. “She’s somebody who doesn’t get a lot of stats, but she stepped up, worked hard and did everything I asked her to do. She’s a great kid.”

Getting McKibben more varsity experience is one key for the Panthers not only this year, but going forward into next season when many of the team’s seniors will have graduated.

In addition to having a wealth of seniors this year, Middle Park also has a strong junior class, including Hammond and Megan McCauley, who’ve already played a lot of important varsity minutes.

McCauley’s sister, Kate, is also one of the seniors on the team, and she had two kills, an assist and a dig Tuesday night.

Kate McCauley passes the ball to the setter as Middle Park plays Platte Canyon on Tuesday.
Eli Pace /

But thinking about upcoming seasons is getting too far ahead of things. For Friesen, Middle Park must maintain its discipline, focus and intensity throughout the team’s upcoming games.

As Middle Park works its way to the end of regular season play, the Panthers defeated Arrupe Jesuit 3-0 Thursday night and are scheduled to take on the Academy in an away game on Saturday.

Most important, the Panthers are playing well right now, and Friesen doesn’t want her girls to let up.

On Tuesday, Middle Park continues its road stint with the Panthers heading up US Highway 40 to Kremmling for the purple rivalry game vs. West Grand. It seems as if Middle Park hasn’t forgotten last year when the two faced off in Granby.

“We are excited about that,” Friesen said of the upcoming rivalry game. “(West Grand) worked us over pretty good last year, so we’re excited to go over to their home court and see what we can do.”

Another game to look out for could come in the postseason. DSST: Montview defeated Middle Park 3-1 on March 19 when the Panthers opened the spring volleyball season on the road.

The Panthers’ only other loss so far this year came against Prospect Ridge Academy (8-1) during a tournament in Bennett.

“We’re really looking forward to league where we get to take on DSST again,” Friesen said.

Middle Park junior Elizabeth Hammond tips the ball over the net against Platte Canyon. Hammond had 12 kills vs. the Huskies.
Eli Pace /


Middle Park libero Maggie Pfeiffer points as Katie Trail plays the serve.
Eli Pace /
Middle Park’s Brianna Renteria blocks a shot on Tuesday. Renteria had 12 kills, three digs and two blocks in the contest.
Eli Pace /
Middle Park senior Maggie Pfeiffer passes the ball to one of her teammates.
Eli Pace /

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