Panthers place fifth at district

Prairie City senior Danielle Smith shows some form making a return as teammates (from left) Bradi Voigt, Cherise Ricco and Tiffany Sullens set up for a possible rebound. The Eagle/Tim Adams

JOHN DAY - Despite a fifth-place finish at the District 4-1A Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, Prairie City coach Eva Saul said the 2004 season was a successful one for the Panthers.

Prairie City entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed from the TriCo League thanks to a 19-25, 25-14, 15-25, 25-8, 15-9 playoff victory over Jordan Valley at Nyssa High School on Wednesday, and finished the season as TriCo League tri-champion.

"Spray, Jordan Valley and we all had one loss during regular season games, so the league decided to award championship trophies to all three schools," Saul said. "The coin flip earlier in the week and the playoff game between us and Jordan Valley were just for seeding positions into the district tournament and had nothing to do with league play."

The Panthers opened the district tournament with a tough two-game loss, 25-10, 25-15, to Powder Valley, the No. 3 seed from the Old Oregon League, before coming back with a 25-13, 25-22 victory over Harper.

"The girls came together after the first match against Powder Valley and played really hard against Harper," Saul said.

Faced with a must-win situation, Prairie City put together another strong effort against Spray, but came up short losing, 25-22, 23-25, 6-15, to the Eagles and were eliminated from district competition.

"Even though the girtls lost in the district tournament, it was a really successful season for us. I told the girls even though we didn't make the state tournament, it was a really good season anyway," Saul said. "We had tremendous support from our fans at the district tournament and at all our matches during the season, and it was a good thing for the community."

Senior Lindy Black was named a first-team all tournament all-star.

Cove won the district championship and the No. 1 seed from District No. 4 into the state tournament. Pine Eagle captured the second seed and Powder Valley will go as the No. 3 team.

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