Panthers volleyball extend win streak on the court
Middle Park’s lady Panthers continued a string of dominating performances late last week with two solid victories over the Bennett Tigers and the Platte Canyon Huskies.
Last week’s dual wins pushed the Panthers most recent winning streak to five, placing the ladies’ record at 13-2 overall with an undefeated 8-0 league record as the girls from East Grand look ahead to this weekend’s Frontier League Tournament. Middle Park got into action Thursday night out on the high plains taking on the Bennett Tigers for an away matchup. The Tigers proved to be a serious challenge for the lady Panthers, who have mostly crushed opposing teams this fall, and pushed the Panther girls into a fourth set before Middle Park secured the win.
The first set showed how difficult the job would be for the Panthers as the Tigers fought hard but fell 25-20. The second set was more of the same as the Panthers took home the set win 25-21. The third set was a hard fought back and forth battle that eventually saw the Tigers take the win 25-27. The fourth set was the final one though as the Panthers rebounded and shut the Tigers down 25-20.
The lady Panthers varsity squad had 50 kills on the day including strong performances from senior Kiera Barr, with 18, and senior Bailey Martin, with 14, followed closely by senior Harley Phillips with 10. Rounding out the kills for the Panthers were junior Morgan Shaw with four, junior Sammy Phillips with three, and senior Layne Neiberger with one.
The Panther servers were not as hot against Bennett as they have been against other opponents recently and put up only seven aces against the lady Tigers. The aces were spread throughout the team with Sammy Phillips and senior Lexi Blixt each tallying two. Harley Phillips Neiberger and Barr each had one ace last Thursday.
Defensive efforts against the competitive Tigers were led by Blixt who posted 24 digs on the day. Barr showed good defensive effort with 16 digs while Harley Phillips posted 12. Both Neiberger and Sammy Phillips each recorded 11 digs while Shaw was close behind with 10. Also recorded digs against the Tigers were Martin with three and freshman Katie Trail with one.
The volleyball action continued Saturday afternoon at home for the Panthers as Middle Park took on Bailey’s Platte Canyon High School. The lady Panthers came ready for the lady Huskies and put the match away with three set wins. The girls from East Grand made quick work of their opponents in the first set, finishing things 25-14. The second set proved a bit more difficult but the Panthers still outscored their opponents 25-18. The Huskies put up their toughest challenge in the third and final set but it was too little too late as the match ended with a 25-21 set victory for Middle Park.
Barr once again led the way on offense for the Panthers, putting up 10 of the team’s 32 kills Saturday afternoon. Close behind was Martin with seven kills. Harley Phillips, Blixt, and Shaw each posted four kills against Platte Canyon while senior Kaitlin McConnell had three.
The Panther servers found their mark several times against the Huskies and posted nine aces on their way to their Saturday match win. Blixt led the team with four aces. She was followed closely by Barr who had three. Seniors Natalie Stubbs and Shayna Hickox each had one ace Saturday.
Hickox was also a force on defense, leading the Panthers with 11 digs Saturday. Right behind her was Blixt who had 10 digs against the Huskies. Both Neiberger and Barr each had six digs Saturday while Stubbs had five. Rounding out the defensive stats for the Panthers’ Platte Canyon match were Harley Phillips with four digs, and Martin with three.
The Panthers will now prepare for this weekend’s Frontier League Tournament. A tournament roster and schedule were not yet available Sunday afternoon. Round one of the tournament is set to begin Thursday.
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