LANDER – In a preview of the postseason, the Pinedale High School Lady Wrangler volleyball team put up a tenacious fight at the 3A West Conference Duels in Lander on Oct. 7-8, defeating three of four opponents from the 3A Northwest Quadrant.
Pinedale held its own against top-ranked teams at the event. The Lady Wranglers matched Lyman, the No. 1 seed in the Southwest Quadrant, and Powell, the No. 1 seed in the Northwest, with a 3-1 record over the weekend.
Pinedale outperformed Worland, ranked No. 2 in the Northwest Quadrant, and Lander, Lovell and Thermopolis. Only Mountain View finished the tournament undefeated.
Beginning the duels on a high note, the Lady Wranglers beat Lovell in a 3-0 clean sweep on Friday afternoon.
Pinedale battled Worland to a 2-2 stalemate later that evening. The Lady Wranglers stepped up and scored game point, 15-12, in the tiebreaking fifth set to score a 3-2 victory.
On Saturday morning, Pinedale trounced Thermopolis, 3-0. The team fell to Powell, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon, though Powell won each set by a narrow margin.
The Lady Wranglers’ 3-0 win against Lovell in the first round boosted the team’s confidence and set it up for success in subsequent duels.
Senior Haylen Sandner scored the opening point for Pinedale with a block in the first set. Senior McKenzie Illoway slammed over a kill, assisted by fellow senior Toree Andersen. Lovell aimed the ball out returning a serve by Illoway and another serve by sophomore Gabby Rogers.
Lovell tied the set at 6 points and then overshot its serve. Coverage in the backcourt by senior Sara Kunard and junior Reagan Davis resulted in a point.
Davis aced a serve, matching Lovell in scoring at 10 points. Lovell edged ahead until Illoway spiked a point.
Sophomore Mae McGuire delivered a pair of kills, assisted both times by Davis. Lovell tied the set again at 14 points. Sandner tipped over a point. Junior Trista Covill powered over a kill, Davis set the ball and Rogers scored a hit, pulling Pinedale ahead by 2 points.
Davis served up three points, stretching Pinedale’s lead to 5 points. Junior Ana Mika spiked the ball over the net. Lovell overshot the ball responding to a serve by Andersen.
Lovell managed to close the gap to a single point. Illoway bumped the ball to Davis. Davis set the ball up for Mika to slam over game point, 25-23.
Sandner tallied the first points in the second set with a block and kill. Covill spiked a point, assisted by Rogers. Covill played a second kill before Lovell caught up at 6 points. Kunard bumped over a point and Illoway tipped the ball to place Pinedale back in the lead.
Mika and Sandner defended the net. McGuire powered over a hit, assisted by Davis. Davis set a point and Sandner tipped the ball over the net. Lovell struck out returning a kill by Sandner. Covill reached up for a block and then scored a kill, assisted by Davis.
Davis aced her serve. Mika scored two kills and tipped the ball into Lovell territory.
Lovell took the lead at 21 points. Kunard made a dig, sending the ball to Davis. Davis set the ball and Sandner made a kill to tie the set at 21 points.
Lovell struck out on a serve by senior Mikayla Drake and then sent a serve into the net. Davis tipped over a point. Lovell overshot the ball on a serve by Davis, leading to game point for Pinedale, 26-24.
The Lady Wranglers showed no mercy in the third set, taking the lead from the first point and holding it through game point.
Mika scored a kill, assisted by Davis. Sandner spiked a point and made a block. Mika powered over another kill, assisted by Davis. Lovell failed to return two serves by Rogers. Mika spiked a hit over the net. Sandner defended the net and delivered a kill, assisted by Davis.
Davis set the ball up for Covill to slam over the net. Illoway leapt up for a block. McGuire pulled out a kill, assisted by Davis. Illoway tipped a point over and powered up a kill.
McGuire made a block and Illoway served a point. Coverage by Andersen and McGuire resulted in a point. McGuire and Sandner defended the net. Sandner tipped over a point. Covill scored a pair of kills. Illoway slammed over a hit for game point, 25-18.
Making a statement
Pinedale squared off against Worland to close out the first day of duels on Friday afternoon. The Lady Wranglers won the first two sets, 25-17, and 25-18.
Worland turned the tables, pulling out a 25-10 victory in the third set and winning the fourth set, 25-19, leading to a 2-2 stalemate.
Both teams pulled out the stops in the fifth tiebreaking set. The lead bounced back and forth over the net until the Lady Wranglers scored three crucial points to win the set, 15-12, and the game, 3-2.
On Saturday morning, Pinedale triumphed over Thermopolis with a 3-0 clean sweep. Thermopolis put up resistance in the first two sets before the Lady Wranglers scored game point, 25-20, in the first set and 25-22 in the second. Pinedale dominated the third set, scoring game point at 25-7.
The Powell Lady Panthers posed a significant challenge. Powell hit the court with an undefeated conference record, tallying a single loss for the season.
The Lady Panthers won the first set, 25-18. The Lady Wranglers stepped up the intensity in the next two sets, making Powell fight for each point. The Lady Panthers ultimately scored a 3-0 victory, though Pinedale ensured the score remained close in the final sets and fell by only a few points in the second set, 25-21, and third set, 25-22.
Pinedale hosts Mountain View in the Wrangler Gym on Friday, Oct. 14. Freshmen play at 2 p.m., followed by junior varsity at 3 p.m. and varsity at 4 p.m.
On Tuesday, Oct. 18, the Lady Wranglers travel to Big Piney for a cross-county rivalry game against the Punchers. Freshmen hit the court at 4 p.m., with junior varsity playing at 5 p.m. and varsity at 6 p.m.