The Prairie City Panthers, with one starter out for the season, lost Thursday night’s battle with Crane, the Mustangs claiming a 3-1 win with scores of 25-9, 25-21, 24-26 and 25-18.
Prairie City head coach Jordan Bass said her team has been adjusting to a new lineup, starting this week, since starter Shaine Madden is now out for the season.
“We moved some girls around trying to come up with something really strong,” Bass said. “I think it’s there, but it’s pretty new still.”
The Panthers fell hard in the first set 9-25, then gained some momentum, leading to the hard-fought score of 26-24 in the third set.
In the third, Crane served, and Panther Emily Ennis made the kill. Then Panther Katie Hire’s powerful jump serves bumped Prairie City’s score up 5-0.
Crane caught up to tie the score 9-9, and the Mustangs kept in close range. The teams tied a few more times as the fans cheered loudly.
Prairie City edged out their opponents with Ennis serving the winning shot.
Panther Samantha Workman said her team wanted the win, and although it slipped away, she said they worked well together.
“We stayed positive and tried not to get down on ourselves,” she said. “We’re looking forward to the next game.”
Bass said she felt her team was prepared for what Crane was going to bring to the table. She said her team played hard, but the Mustangs had a couple solid players.
The Panthers have a busy schedule ahead, facing Huntington at 3:30 p.m. Friday on the road. They host Burnt River on Tuesday, then face Adrian and Jordan Valley on the road next week.
The 1A High Desert District Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20, at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School in John Day.
Prairie City has an overall record of 7-10, and they are 2-1 in league.
“We’re trying to hammer out some of these kinks in our new line up, so we can be prepared for that and get the girls feeling comfortable and confident,” Bass said.