Lady Panthers post dual wins at Regionals
A state championship could be in the cards for Middle Park’s volleyball squad after the lady Panthers went undefeated during the Class 3A Region 12 Tournament last week.
Middle Park has been on a roll on the court lately and entered the regional tournament after going 3-1 during last weekend’s Buena Vista Tournament, losing only one match to tournament hosts Buena Vista. Heading into regionals the ladies sported a 20-3 overall record and a perfect 12-0 league record.
Regional action got underway Friday evening with Middle Park taking on the Manitou Springs Mustangs, who entered Friday’s match with a 13-10 overall record. The Panthers have rolled past most of their competition this year, often defeating opposing teams by double digits, but the lady Mustangs proved a tougher challenge though.
The Panthers jumped out of the gates and surprised the girls from Manitou, quickly putting the first set away with a score of 25-16. The Mustangs rebounded in the second and kept things a bit closer but still fell to the Panthers 25-20. The third set proved to be the toughest challenge of the match for the Panthers but Middle Park still managed to pull off the third set, and match, win 25-21.
In their second match of the day the girls from East Grand faced off against the Coal Ridge Titans. The Titan’s season record, which stood at 21-3 overall prior to their match against Middle Park, indicated a tougher challenge than what the lady Titans actually presented Friday night.
The first set was as expected, with both teams pushing each other into high scores. The Panthers managed to pull off the win in the first set but not without being threatened by the Titans. The set ended 28-26 Panthers. The Titans seems to fall apart in the second set though, which saw the Panthers cruise to an easy 25-7 victory. The ladies from New Castle seemed to find their feet in the third set but it was still not enough as the Panthers fished the match with a third set win 25-18.
It was a big day on offense for senior Bailey Martin who led the Panther’s offense in kills in both matches, racking up a total of 26 between both matches, accounting for over one-third of all the teams kills. Supporting her efforts was fellow senior Kiera Barr who managed 17 kills Friday. Close behind her was senior Harley Phillips who posted 12. The younger Phillips girl, junior Sammy, also had a solid day on offense and tallied seven kills, the exact same number as junior Morgan Shaw recorded Friday. Senior Layne Neiberger rounded out the kills stats with four.
Friday featured a modest performance by the Panthers from behind the end line while serving. While the Middle Park volleyball squad as a whole recorded 15 aces against their two opponents nearly half, seven, were recorded by Neiberger alone. Barr also had a big day while serving and posted six kills. Harley Phillips offered her support as well and recorded one ace in both matches.
On defense senior Lexi Blixt led the Panther efforts and recorded 29 of the team’s 103 digs at the regional tournament. Right behind her was Barr with 28. Neiberger also had a solid day on defense and managed to rack up 29 digs. Harley Phillips tallied 12 digs Friday while her sister Sammy recorded 10. Rounding out the Panther’s defensive efforts were Martin, with three digs, Shaw with one, and freshman Dominyka Reventaite with one.
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