East Grand goes 2 for 3 at D’Evelyn Tournament
It was a busy weekend for the Middle Park volleyball girls who competed in 12 different sets from Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers have posted strong performances so far this fall and were standing at a 5-1 overall record going into a Thursday night matchup against the Denver Science & Tech Knights. After the weekend the Panthers win streak was brought to a halt but the girls of Middle Park managed to up their record, which now stands at 8-2 overall.
The match got started with a quick set as the Panther easily handled the Knights 25-11. The second set was more of the same as the Knights fell 25-15. The girls from Denver found their stride in the third set though and kept themselves alive with a 22-25 victory, pushing the match into a fourth set.
It was in the fourth set that the Panthers closed things out, shutting down the Knights 25-15. Along the way seniors Bailey Martin and Kiera Barr notched 14 kills apiece. The team’s ace tally was led by junior Sammy Phillips who scored six aces on the evening. Defensively senior Lexi Blixt was a powerhouse, racking up 20 digs.
After the Thursday evening matchup the ladies from East Grand headed down to the Front Range for a Saturday tournament at D’Evelyn in Jefferson County. The tournament featured a truncated match schedule with the teams battling for a best of three match set versus the standard best of five.
“Competing in the D’Evelyn Varsity Challenge was a great experience for our team because we had the opportunity to compete against some tough 4A teams,” Kate Lapham, Panthers head volleyball coach, said. “We finished 2nd in the tournament with a 2-1 record and lost int he finals to the undefeated D’Evelyn Jaguars.”
The Panthers faced off against three teams during the day. Action on the court got underway early, at 8 a.m., with the Panthers taking on the Skyline Falcons. The Falcons have traveled a rough road so far this season and were winless at the start of the tournament. Things didn’t improve for them against the Panthers.
East Grand’s volleyball squad make quick work of the lady Falcons in the first set, clipping their wings 25-7. The second set proved a tougher challenge but the Panthers still decisively put the Falcons away with a 25-20 second set win.
The Panther’s second set, later in the morning at 10:30 a.m., was against the Littleton Lions. The Lions proved to be a more difficult challenge for the East Grand girls. The Panthers had a strong showing in the first set, defeating the Lions 25-15. Littleton’s lady Lions found their feet in the second set though and came roaring back, beating the Panthers in a close fought contest 25-23. Littleton couldn’t keep the momentum going though and the third set was the decisive one as the Lions fell to the Panthers 15-8, giving the Panthers the match win.
Middle Park’s third and final match Saturday was against tournament hosts D’Evelyn Jaguars. The girls from Denver proved to be the most difficult test the Panthers have faced since their opening match against Faith Christian. The action got underway with the Jaguars eeking out a tight win 25-21. The second set was a back and forth contest that ended with the Panthers up 29-27. The third and final set proved to be the end for the lady Panthers though who fell 8-15 to the Jaguars.
Several of the lady Panthers posted strong showings Saturday in the three matches. Kiera Barr led the team in kill, posting 22 over the course of the three matches. She was backed up by Bailey Martin who posted 18 kills. Barr also led the team’s serving efforts with seven aces. Lexi Blixt anchored the team’s defensive efforts, posting 37 digs against all three opponents.
Coach Lapham said the tournament exposed some of the weaknesses the Pathers are working to overcome, which the ladies will focus on at practice, but added, “we are excited to continue competition in the Frontier League.”
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