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Senior Allison Stirewalt goes up for a hit during Imbler's victory over Wallowa on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021. The Panthers defeated Powder Valley in a five-set thriller on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021.

IMBLER — The Panthers opened Old Oregon League play with a resounding victory against the Wallowa Cougars on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

Imbler was victorious in straight sets, winning 25-10, 25-16 and 25-18. Head coach Jennifer Teeter’s squad controlled the game from early on and led for nearly the entirety of the match.

Imbler allowed the first point of the match to Wallowa, but consistently led the rest of the first set. The Panthers and Cougars were neck and neck through the early stages of the first set, battling out an early 5-4 Imbler advantage. Senior Gracie Turley recorded two aces through Imbler’s first three points.

The Panthers went on a big run with Allison Stirewalt serving, jumping out to an 11-4 lead. Imbler held a 15-10 advantage and never looked back, extending the team’s lead to 25-10 and winning the first set handily.

In the second set, both teams exchanged points early as the score stood at 3-3. Wallowa held its own, keeping Imbler’s lead to 11-9. Midway through the set, the Panthers gained momentum and stretched the lead to 17-11. Imbler kept a steady lead and won the set 25-16.

In the final set, Wallowa showed fight and nearly made a massive comeback. Imbler kept momentum going from the previous sets and gained an early 7-1 lead. With Imbler up 16-8, it appeared that the Panthers would run away with the set. The Cougars trailed 23-14 when sophomore Zoe Hermans caught fire from the service area. Wallowa recorded four straight points and gained some momentum as Imbler’s lead was cut to 23-18. A misplayed assist by Wallowa turned the serve over to Imbler, allowing the Panthers to win the final two points and take the last set 25-18.

Turley recorded 12 service points and five aces, while Stirewalt tallied 18 service points and three aces. Emily Arnoldus totaled 21 service points and four aces.

Imbler improves to 3-2 on the year and 1-0 in league competition, while Wallowa remains winless at 0-4 and 0-1 in league play. Imbler will host Powder Valley (7-2) at noon on Sept. 10 and Wallowa will play Pilot Rock at home on Sept. 9 at 6 p.m.

Enterprise hands Cove first loss of season

The Leopards jumped out to a first-set lead, but ultimately fell in four sets to the Outlaws.

Cove won the first set 25-17, but fell in three close sets that followed. Enterprise evened the match with a 25-20 second set and took an advantage with a 25-17 third set. With the match on the line, the Leopards fought hard in a close fourth set. Enterprise walked away with a narrow 25-23 victory to win the match and improve to 5-2 on the year.

Rachel Baird recorded eight aces and three kills. Autumn Dobbs led the way with 11 kills.

Up next for Cove is a trip to Joseph for the team's fourth straight road contest to open the season. The match is set to get under way at 5 p.m. on Sept. 9.

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