PINEDALE – The Lady Wranglers clashed with 3A heavyweights Mountain View and Lyman on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 16 and 18. Mountain View and Lyman entered the weekend with nearly undefeated records following several weeks of tournament play.
Pinedale hosted Mountain View for its first home game on Thursday. The Buffalos launched a furious offensive that proved tough to overcome with Pinedale falling in three sets.
The Lady Wranglers refused to throw in the towel and resisted down to the final point.
“Mountain View is a solid team with great defense and they have some big hitters on the outside,” said head coach Tamara Currah. “Going into the game, I knew it was going to be tough. I did see some really good stuff from the girls and was proud of the way they came out and fought. I know sometimes nerves might get the best of us, but I thought they fought through them. The girls will fight ‘til the end, and I love this about them.”
The Lady Wranglers demonstrated significant improvement against Lyman on Saturday.
The Eagles handily won the first set, but the Lady Wranglers gave Lyman a run for its money in the next two sets.
The Lady Wranglers kept the pressure on in close second and third sets. Despite strong resistance from Pinedale, Lyman ultimately carried the day, 3-0.
“Again, with Lyman I knew this was going to be a tough game,” said Currah. “I felt like we played Lyman closer than we played Mountain View. We changed our lineup a little bit, and you could tell in the first set. Then, in the second set, the girls came out and led most of the game. They fought so hard and we almost had them. There was a lot of good stuff happening and Pinedale is getting better with each game we play.”
The Buffalos hit the court swinging in the first set, setting up an early lead. A block by junior Haylen Sandner and kills from sophomore Trista Covill and senior Roxanne Rogers closed the gap.
Mountain View went on an 8-point scoring spree before sending a serve into the net. Roxanne Rogers got in two kills and junior Sara Kunard aced a serve. Sandner and seniors Abigail Hawke and Maggie Harber shot several points over the net before the Buffalos scored game point at 25-15.
The Lady Wranglers briefly tied the second set when Mountain View sent the ball into the net returning a serve by junior McKenzie Illoway. Mountain View dominated the remainder of the set, although Hawke, Sandner and Roxanne Rogers delivered points before the Buffalos shot over game point, 25-10.
Pinedale edged ahead at the beginning of the third set. A block by Harber tied the match at 5 points. Harber and Covill struck offensively with kills, Covill assisted on point 8 by a dig from Kunard. Mountain View maintained the lead until game point, 25-10.
The Eagles asserted themselves in the first set, widening the lead as the match progressed. Lyman won the set, 25-12.
The Lady Wranglers dug deep in a heater second set, nearly upsetting Lyman. Roxanne Rogers delivered a kill for point 3. The Eagles found themselves caught in the net on the next three plays. Another hit by Rogers took Pinedale to 7 points. Hawke tapped over point 8.
The Eagles crept up and tied the match at 8 points. Roxanne Rogers responded with a set of kills, keeping the Lady Wranglers ahead by a point.
The Eagles pulled ahead at point 14. Sandner tied the set with a block. Roxanne Rogers aced over point 15. Hawke broke the next stalemate with a block and a hit, carrying Pinedale to a 3-point lead at 19 points.
Gabrielle Rogers slammed over a kill for point 21. Hawke made another block to score point 22, widening Pinedale’s lead to 4 points. Kills by Roxanne Rogers and Sandner kept Pinedale ahead until the Eagles tied the set at 24 points. Lyman managed to pull out two points for the win, 26-24.
The third set opened with the lead switching back and forth. Kills by Sandner, Hawke and Roxanne Rogers tied the match or put Pinedale ahead. Gabrielle Rogers delivered an ace.
The Eagles regained control at point 12, and held on to the lead, although the Lady Wranglers kept close on their heels. Junior Toree Andersen dug deep and bumped the ball to Gabrielle Rogers, who set the ball up for a kill by Hawke, briefly closing the deficit to 4 points.
Following a kill by Roxanne Rogers, Lyman scored game point at 25-18.
The Lady Wranglers played Kemmerer for Homecoming on Thursday, Sept. 23. Results were not available at press time.
Coach Currah said the team looks forward to the next conference games.
“Our goal this year is to make it to State, and we can do that,” she said. “It will take a lot of hard work and patience. We talk a lot about taking each game and learning from it. Then in practice, we work hard on the simple things. It will take not getting discouraged. I told the girls to keep focusing on their goal, and good things will happen.”