Imbler holds on for five-set victory

By Paul Harder / The Observer September 30, 2013 11:31 am
NORTH POWDER — Two nights in a row the Imbler volleyball team has dealt with adversity, and on both nights blasted the roadblocks in front of them.

The Panthers had not lost two games in a match this season, until rallying in five against Cove Thursday. On Friday, Powder Valley playing at home, took the opening two sets. But, once again, Imbler had the answer to take the match in five 21-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-22, 15-11.

“We weren’t tired in the fifth set,” Imbler senior Jacey Teeter said. “We condition very hard leading up to the season. So, even though we went five again tonight, it wasn’t an issue with our legs being under us.”

The deciding fifth set became a game of short runs, with Imbler scoring the opening three points. Powder Valley claimed the lead off an attack error, 4-3. The Panthers and Malia Mills went to work on an 8-2 run. Mills had four kills and a solo block during that stretch. 

The Badgers didn’t fade away, making a three-point run on match-point before a serving error ended the match.

“We just made too many of those little mistakes,” Powder Valley head coach Lasa Baxter said. “The girls played really well. We came out with a fast-paced game, and kept that pace going to the end. But the critical errors, like serves out of the court and not utilizing our outside hitters as well, came back to get us.”

In the end it was the consistency of Imbler’s attack that lead to the win. Setter Jacey Teeter had plenty of options to chose from.

“It’s a lot of fun to set on this team,” Teeter said. “We have Malia, Stephanie (McGilvray) and Emma (Bowers). Plus, we have Hannah Wilhelm who is playing great, too.

“It has to make it tough on defenses because we can move the ball around to different spots. I try to do my best at doing that.”

Powder Valley had the “Badger Den” in an uproar after taking the first two sets of the match.

Sally Mary Blair came up big in the final stretches of both games, including two kills that got the Badgers to match point in the second game. 

“It was great to see the girls step up at big points in the match,” Baxter said. “We brought in a couple freshmen too, and we didn’t miss a beat. I like the direction that we’re going. It’s just a matter of finishing off the match.”

Teeter finished the match with 37 assists and added nine digs.

Mills had a team-high 11 kills in the match, and recorded a team-high 22 digs.

Bowers and Wilhelm each finished with nine kills in the match. Bowers also had 20 digs. Wilhelm collected 17 digs.

McGilvray had five kills.

Ally Fullerton and Emily Bingaman had 11 and nine digs, respectively. 

Imbler (14-0,4-0 OOL) will host Union at 4 p.m. in a non-league contest Tuesday. 

Powder Valley (6-5, 2-1 OOL) will host Wallowa at 4 p.m. Thursday.

In other Old Oregon League action, Cove swept Pine Eagle 25-15, 25-22, 25-15 Friday. The Leopards improve to 7-7 overall and 2-2 in the OOL, while the Spartans are 4-4 overall and 1-4 in league.

Wallowa defeated its in-county rival Joseph Friday. The Cougars won 25-20, 25-18, 25-22 to improve to 3-8 overall and 2-1 in the OOL.

Joseph is 5-6 overall and 1-4 in league.

Lady Cats split

STANFIELD — The Union volleyball team split at a triangular in Stanfield.

The Lady Cats beat Stanfield 25-13, 25-17, 25-16. But Union couldn’t keep the momentum going against Weston-McEwen, falling in three games 25-14, 25-18, 25-8.

Union is now 8-7 overall and 6-2 in the Blue Mountain Conference and plays at Imbler Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Elgin loses two

HEPPNER — Elgin struggled at a triangular in Heppner.

The Lady Huskies got swept by the Mustangs 26-24, 25-16, 25-8 and lost in three to Grant Union 25-9, 25-20, 25-18.

“The Lady Huskies struggled this weekend,” Elgin head coach Carmen Gentry said. “We still have some work to do with regard to confidence building and some team building.”  

Gentry complimented Katie Witherspoon and Stormy Silver on their blocking this weekend.