POWDER VALLEY, IMBLER SPIKERS FARE WELL
By Raenelle Kwock
Observer Staff Writer
BAKER CITY The Powder Valley Badgers and Imbler Panthers are headed into their respective district volleyball tournaments soon.
On Saturday, the Badgers and Panthers had a chance to play one another at Baker High School and work on a few things in preparation for the postseason. Future Old Oregon League team Pine-Eagle was invited and played the Badgers, as well.
The Panthers had played Pine-Eagle in a Wapiti League match Friday.
The Badgers played to raise funds for weight equipment purchased from Marshfield High School.
It took a while for the Badgers to get started against the Spartans, but in the end they won the match in five games. The Badgers prevailed with a 17-25, 15-25, 25-19, 25-12, 18-16 victory.
The Badgers tried new rotations in Games 1 and 2.
"It worked well in practice, but it wasn't so hot when it came to game time," coach Molly Smith said.
In Games 3, 4 and 5, the Badgers went back to their old rotation.
"It was a good test and we now feel comfortable with our back-up setter Lacey Lyman," Smith said. "Our serve receive wasn't that great in the match. At times we just seemed a step slow or the girls were being spectators. We are a slow starting team, and I just hope that doesn't hurt us in the district playoffs."
Against Pine-Eagle, Hailee Bingham served 16-for-20 with two aces, four kills and two digs. Kali Miller served 16-for-16 and had 12 kills, 11 blocks.
Heather Tittle, who injured her elbow last weekend, served 13-for-13.
Lyman had six blocks, and served 15-for-16.
"She really stepped up in the setting position," Smith said. "I was really proud of her."
Joelle Bain was 17-for-18 serving with three aces and 13 kills. Sabrina Rich had six kills and five blocks.
The Panthers defeated the Badgers 25-22, 25-22, 18-25, 25-22.
"We played them close and there were some great rallies," Smith said. "I thought we played the net aggressively, but sometimes too aggressively, as many times we were in the net. With district coming up, we will have to refine that aggressiveness so it doesn't hurt us but helps us. Joelle was doing a great job of hitting, but Imbler was doing a fine job of picking up her hard hits."
Imbler coach Jennifer Teeter said the Badgers are a strong team with strong hitters.
"Overall, I think it was a very competitive match for us," she said.
Teeter said that besides playing a challenging team and winning, the Panthers were able to improve on their defense and get ready for the postseason.
Imbler's Chelsea Hughes was 21-for-21 serving with five aces and 16 assists. Mandy Griffin and Kayla Ritter were 100 percent serving. Griffin had 16 assists and Ritter had six kills.
Hannah Hall and Tawnie Overton had seven kills. Stacey McKinnis had 12 kills.
Tittle served 19-for-20 with two aces, five digs and one block for Powder Valley. Bingham served 20-for-22 and had six kills.
"For not being very tall, (Bingham) does a great job of playing the front," Smith said. "She's really coming on, and I'm proud of her accomplishments. At times I feel I may ask her to do too much, but she sure steps up and gets the job done."
Miller served 14-for-15, nine blocks and 10 kills. Bain served 15-for-18 with four aces and had 13 kills.
"Caitlin Miguez did a great job of picking up stuff in the back row," Smith said. "She is a consistent player and is quick. She's a real benefit to our team."
Alisha Thompson served 7-for-8. Smith said she did a good job of picking up hits in the back row.
The Badgers, who have a chance for an OOL championship, play their final league game in Prairie City, while Imbler hosts Nyssa Friday.