Lady Wranglers defeat Thermopolis at Regionals
LANDER – The Pinedale High School Lady Wrangler volleyball team finished the 2023 season fighting to the last point at the 3A West Regional Tournament in Lander on Oct. 27-28.
The event opened with a cliffhanger between Pinedale and Worland on Friday. Both teams brought their A-games and the result remained up in the air until late in the fourth set when Worland pulled ahead to win, 3-1.
Digging deep, the Lady Wranglers rallied to rout Thermopolis, 3-0, in the consolation bracket.
The victory propelled Pinedale into the consolation semifinals against Lyman. Pinedale ultimately came up short, 3-0.
While the Lady Wranglers ended the season earlier than anticipated, Pinedale posted solid performances competing in an exceptionally tough conference. The 3A Southwest Quadrant included senior-stacked teams from the Bridger Valley and the 2022 state champions and runners up, Mountain View and Lyman, respectively. Lander was also a tough team to crack.
The tenacious Lady Wrangler varsity squad fought for each point, week after week, in exciting games against conference rivals that frequently came down to only a few points.
Pinedale tallied 12 overall wins for the season. The Lady Wranglers defeated Powell, 3-1, at the season opener tournament on Aug. 25. Pinedale beat both Torrington and Rawlins at a tournament on Sept. 8 and 9.
The Lady Wranglers triumphed against Lander twice this season – by 3-2 after five epic sets on Sept. 14 and again on Oct. 19, 3-1.
The first set between the Lady Wranglers and Lady Warriors came down to the wire. Pinedale took the lead at 5 points with a kill by senior Trista Covill. Fellow senior Reagan Davis set the ball over the net to break the stalemate.
Pinedale maintained the initiative with kills by sophomore Alyxis White, senior Ana Mika and junior Madeline Hawke, along with blocks from Covill and Davis.
Worland closed the gap at 17 points. The Lady Wranglers responded with blocks from Hawke, Covill and junior Mae McGuire. McGuire powered over a kill to tie the set at 23 points.
Worland edged ahead to score game point by a narrow margin, 25-23.
Pinedale battled Worland beyond 25 points in a hotly contested second set. The Lady Wranglers led for the first half of the set, with kills from Mika, Covill, White and McGuire. Davis set a point over the net and Hawke aced a serve.
Worland matched Pinedale in scoring at 13 points. McGuire and White answered back with kills to tie the set at 17 points. Davis delivered point 18 and White slammed over a kill. Worland tangled with the net returning a hit by Covill and the set reached deadlock at 20 points.
Pinedale took the lead again at 24 points when Worland failed to return a serve by Hawke. Worland then pulled ahead to score game point, 26-24.
Regrouping in the third set, the Lady Wranglers and Lady Warriors fought tooth and nail for control of the scoreboard. An ace by senior Ashley Boulter gave Pinedale an early lead, 5-4.
The set tied at 9 points when Worland sent the ball into the net returning a serve from Mika. Covill aced a point and the set deadlocked at 12 points. A kill by White resulted in a stalemate at 13 points.
Pinedale regained the initiative, 14-13, when junior Gabby Rogers delivered a kill and the Lady Wranglers maintained the lead through game point, 25-18.
Following a back-and-forth early in the fourth set, Worland widened its lead. The Lady Wranglers made a concerted effort to close the gap as the set progressed with kills from Hawke and Covill and aces by Boulter and Mika. Boulter and Rogers provided good coverage with deep digs.
While Pinedale reduced Worland’s lead from 10 points to 2 points, the Lady Warriors ultimately won, 25-21.
Pinedale seized the lead in the first set at 6 points with a kill from Hawke.
McGuire, Covill, White and Mika each slammed kills into Thermopolis’ territory. Mika, Covill and Rogers served up an ace apiece. Davis scored with a set. Covill and Hawke both made blocks.
A block by Hawke resulted in game point, 25-12.
The second set proved to be close for the first 10 points. Thermopolis snapped up the lead before Covill tied the game at 5 points. Hawke reached up for a block and White aced a serve.
Thermopolis matched Pinedale in scoring at 9 points. McGuire responded with a block. Davis broke another stalemate at 10 points with a set.
Pinedale widened its lead with an ace by Covill and kill from White. Rogers served up a pair of aces. Hawke made three blocks and Covill and Mika whipped up a kill apiece.
Sophomore Charlotte Hawke scored game point, 25-18, with a kill.
The Lady Wranglers went on to win a tight third set by 5 points. White aced point 22. Junior Paiyzli Baker shut down Thermopolis’ attempt to close the deficit with an ace. Covill slammed over a kill for game point, 25-20.