Panthers go 3-1 at Buena Vista Tournament |

Panthers go 3-1 at Buena Vista Tournament

Middle Park’s volleyball squad continued its march towards a potential state championship over the weekend, winning three out of four matches during Saturday’s Buena Vista Tournament.

It was a busy day for the Panther girls who participated in four matches over the course of the day. Typically varsity volleyball matches are a best of five contest with the first team to win three sets taking the match win. For Saturday’s high country tournament in Buena Vista though the teams competed in best of three matches with the first team winning two sets taking the match win.

Overall it was a solid performance for the Panthers who lost only two sets during the tournament, both to the Buena Vista lady Demons who took home the match win against the Panthers. The action got underway Saturday morning as Middle Park took on the Olathe Pirates. Granby’s girls made quick work of their western Colorado opponents, quickly defeating the lady Pirates in two sets, 25-7 and 25-12.

In their second match of the day the Panthers fell to Buena Vista. Things got off to a strong start for the lady Panthers who quickly trounced the Demons in the first set 25-9. In the second set the Demons rebounded and pulled out a hard fought win, defeating Middle Park 21-25. The third and final set was the decisive one and saw the Panthers fall 9-15 as the Demon’s took the match win.

Middle Park’s third match of the day was against the Parachute based Grand Valley Cardinals. The lady Cardinals were no match for Middle Park and fell in two quick sets. The Panthers ended things with a 25-12 score in the first set and a 25-11 score in the second set.

The Panther’s fourth and final match of the Buena Vista Tournament was against Greeley’s Frontier Academy Wolverines. The Wolverines proved a more difficult challenge for East Grand’s volleyball squad and pushed the Panther defense but couldn’t secure a set win. The Panthers won their final match of the tournament in two sets, 25-21 and 25-18.

During the weekend tournament the Panthers posted some strong statistics, racking up 100 kills, 32 aces and 132 digs against all four opposing teams. On offense senior Kiera Barr led the charge with 23 kills and eight aces while serving. Barr was also a force for the Panthers on defense and tallied 30 digs Saturday.

Her tally of aces was matched by her fellow senior Harley Phillips who posted eight aces on the day, along with 12 kills and 12 digs. Close behind in the kills category was senior Bailey Martin who tallied 22 for the Panthers during the Buena Vista Tournament. Martin also helped with the Panther’s defensive efforts and tallied six digs on the day.

Junior Sammy Phillips had a solid outing Saturday, putting up 17 kills for East Grand along with one ace while serving and 11 defensive digs. Close behind Phillips in the kills category was her fellow junior Morgan Shaw. Shaw recorded 16 kills against her four opponents over the weekend and one ace and three digs.

Senior Lexi Blixt repeatedly found her mark from behind the end line while serving. Blixt tallied six aces Saturday, including all four of the Panther’s aces against Frontier Academy, and was the leading defensive player for Middle Park over the weekend with her 39 total digs. Blixt also recorded one kill during the Panther’s matchup against the Demons.

Also assisting on defense was senior Layne Neiberger who recorded 29 digs during the tournament. Neiberger also helped the Panthers on offense, posting five of the teams aces over the weekend and two of the team’s kills.

Freshman Dominyka Reventaite had a solid showing over the weekend as well. Reventaite had three aces Saturday, all against Grand Valley, and two kills, also against Grand Valley. Rounding out the stats picture for the Panthers were senior Natalie Stubbs and junior Haiden Baker, who each recorded one dig against the Grand Valley Cardinals.

The lady Panthers overall record now stands at 20-3 while the girls from Middle Park still sport a perfect 12-0 league record. The Panthers are currently ranked 11 in the state in the class 3A standings.

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