Lady Panthers get back to basics

<I>The Eagle/Kailey Kell</I><BR>Prairie City volleyball player Loretta Hoeffner bumps the ball, while No. 12, Salem Fast, excitedly sounds out her teammates' next move. At left, Audra Clark, also awaits.

DAYVILLE - The Prairie City Lady Panthers are focusing on fundamentals of volleyball to gain consistency, said coach Melissa Woodbury.

So far, they've played in three venues and learned a lot, she said.

At the Grant Union Tournament, held Sept. 4 in John Day, the Panthers played six games through to the championship bracket, she said.

Their goal, she added, was to work on playing well, and not let emotions rule.

Their first game was really good, although they committed some errors, she said.

"They still played together as a team, really smooth," she said.

In the second and third games, members made a few errors, then let their emotions get to them. "They couldn't let it go, and they fell apart," Woodbury also said.

The fourth game, the girls started to again pull together as a team, although in the fifth and sixth, they were on the downhill side again.

The Prairie City girls traveled to Dayville on Friday, Sept. 10, where they met Grant County opponents, the Dayville/Monument Lady Tigers.

The Tigers were victorious in three successive games.

Then, the Prairie City girls were back home, where they hosted the Prairie City Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Eight teams turned out for the competition. In pool play, the Lady Panthers won two games, but then lost two, which knocked them out of play in the championship bracket.

"Our last two games we could've won, but we had hurt girls. We were lucky to get where we were," said Woodbury.

She added that she's proud of how her team endured in diversity.

Because of an error in the lineup which she'd given to referees, the girls played their tournament games with three front- and three back-court players.

"They had to adapt. They figured it out. They stepped up and got the ball where it needed to go. I'm proud of them," Woodbury added.

Then, several injuries took place, including those to setter, Salona Mecham. The girls worked hard with a substitution to their regular routine.

"The girls stepped up and all helped each other out. They did pretty good."

Powder Valley won the tournament.

Prairie City hosts Burnt River this Friday, Sept. 17. Burnt River, which ended the Prairie City tournament in third place, is a close competitor, said Woodbury. Last year's matchup, the Lady Panthers lost by just two points.

This Saturday, Sept. 18, the team travels for the Pine Eagle Tournament.

As of Sunday, Woodbury was unsure whether Mecham would be able to play in either event this weekend.

The Prairie City girls will focus on the basics of the game. "We plan to simplify our games a lot more," Woodbury said.

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