WYOMING – Competition is intensifying as the high school volleyball season approaches the midway point. The Lady Wranglers squared off against conference rivals Lyman and Lander last week.
On Thursday, Sept. 22, Pinedale fell to the Lyman Lady Eagles, 3-0, with the Lady Tigers successfully defending their home court on Friday, 3-0.
While the scoreboard posted a clean sweep for Lyman and Lander, the scores in each set told a different story. Each point turned into a battle between two talented teams as the ball volleyed back and forth, remaining in the air for significant periods of time.
The Lady Wranglers maintained a lead through several sets, managed to close the gap multiple times or kept their opponent’s margin of victory to within one or two points. Pinedale delivered plenty of powerful hits and serves and demonstrated a high level of coordination.
In the end, Lyman and Lander managed to pull ahead by a handful of points in each set. The Lady Wranglers exhibited an unflagging drive over two days of play and the ability to pull out the extra points to score a victory when Pinedale takes on Lyman and Lander again as the season progresses.
The Lady Wranglers held the lead through a majority of the first set. Senior McKenzie Illoway aced a serve and sophomore Mae McGuire made two kills.
Senior Sara Kunard dug deep for a save, sending the ball to Sandner to score a hit. Junior Trista Covill, McGuire and Sandner each spiked powerful kills over the net. Covill and Sandner defended the net for a point.
Illoway delivered a kill and junior Reagan Davis served a point. Sophomore Gabby Rogers reached up for a block. Illoway maintained Pinedale’s momentum with a kill, assisted by Davis.
The Lady Eagles caught up with Pinedale at 20 points. A kill by Sandner, set up by Davis, tied the set again at 21 points.
Lyman took the lead until Sandner powered over a point and the Lady Eagles struck out returning a serve by senior Mikayla Drake. Kunard scored with a dig, tying the set at 24 points.
Lyman then scored two points for the win, 26-24.
Pinedale closed an early gap established by Lyman in the second set. McGuire spiked a hit. Illoway and Drake both aced a serve. A kill by Sandner tied the set at six points. Covill slammed over a kill, assisted by Davis.
The Lady Eagles responded with a 9-point run midway through the set. McGuire slowed Lyman’s momentum with a kill. McGuire, Sandner and Davis played defense and McGuire tipped over another point. Lyman managed to maintain its lead and scored game point, 25-15.
The Lady Wranglers regrouped in a tightly contested third set. Davis set over the first point for Pinedale. McGuire and Rogers, assisted by Davis, scored the hits to tie Lyman at four points.
The Lady Eagles pulled ahead. Pinedale responded with hits by Rogers and Covill. Covill leapt up and blocked Lyman’s attempt to score. Sandner served up two points. Covill spiked over a kill and Illoway defended the net for a point.
The Lady Eagles failed to return a serve from Davis and McGuire made a block. Pinedale tied the set at 16 points. Illoway slammed down a kill set up by Davis. Rogers aced point 20 and Covill and Sandner defended the net.
A hit by Covill tied the set at 22 points before Lyman edged ahead for game point, 25-22.
Following a brief tie at 4 points, Lander dominated the first set, 25-16.
The Lady Wranglers responded in the second set. Illoway served a pair of aces. Sandner made a block and tipped a point over. Rogers whipped up an ace. Sandner scored a kill and then defended the net.
Junior Ana Mika, Illoway, McGuire, Rogers and Sandner scored hits, widening Pinedale’s lead by eight points midway into the set. Sandner tipped a point over and spiked a kill, assisted by Davis. Drake aced a point.
Lander eventually took the lead at 21 points and remained ahead for game point, 25-21.
The Lady Wranglers took control for most of the third set. Sandner delivered a kill. The Lady Tigers shot the ball out of bounds returning a hit by Mika.
Rogers served up a pair of points. Mika, Illoway and McGuire each scored hits. Lander struck net on a serve from senior Toree Andersen. Rogers powered over two kills before Lander overtook Pinedale at point 13.
The Lady Tigers moved ahead on the scoreboard by several points. Sandner tipped over a point. Lander sent the ball into the net returning a hit by Rogers.
Mika spiked a point, assisted by Davis. Illoway made a kill and Davis aced two serves to tie the set at 19 points. Lander scored but tangled with the net following a bump by Davis and the set reached stalemate at 21 points. The Lady Tigers eventually scored a 3-point run for game point, 25-22.
Pinedale hosted Cokeville for the Homecoming Week on Thursday, Sept. 29. Results were not available at press time.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, the Lady Wranglers host Rawlins at the Wrangler Gym with freshmen hitting the court at 11 a.m., followed by junior varsity at 12 p.m. and varsity at 1 p.m.