Despite being eliminated in pool play Saturday at the Grant Union High Invitational Volleyball Tournament in John Day, the Prairie City Panthers kicked off their season with a bang and have high hopes.

The Panthers defeated Grant Union’s junior varsity team 25-21 in their first set and 25-12 in their second. After that, they made quick work of Enterprise, taking the first set 25-19 and the second 25-16.

They took a tie in their matchup against Heppner, dominating the first set 25-9 and falling short in the second 25-23. The Lady Panthers fell 2-0 in their final matchup against Weston-McEwen.

Midway through the tourney Saturday, junior Betty Ann Wilson said the squad was playing well as a team but could “be a little cleaned up.”

Hannah Wall said what most people do not know about the team is that, in addition to being highly competitive, they have an “unbreakable bond.”

“We’re very close,” Wall said.

Wilson said the highly competitive streak of the team could be a double-edged sword.

“Sometimes it makes it not as great,” she said. “But sometimes it makes it super good.”

Wilson said the team grew up together, and they have played together for quite some time.

Zinny Locke, the team’s libero, who joined the team this year after transferring from Grant Union High School, said the group welcomed her with open arms.

“Everyone is all really welcoming and really sweet,” she said.

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Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at steven@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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