Panthers outlast Russets in five game thriller
THOMAS — For the second time in the past week the Snake River Panthers and the Shelley Russets collided on the volleyball court for a good old fashioned slugfest and for the second time in the past week it was the two time defending state champion Panthers who emerged victorious with a thrilling five game victory 21-25, 25-22, 20-25, 26-24 and 15-9.
It was a southern match all evening as all five games were won by the team playing on the south end of the court, including the five and final game which witnessed the Russets taking a quick 7-3 lead before the Panthers came roaring back with a 12-2 run to close out the match with the 15-9 fifth game victory.
"I hate the hole that we dug and I really don't know why we have to make it so difficult on ourselves," Snake River head coach Shelli VanOrden said. "Shelley are a very good, well coached team though and we feel lucky to get the win."
Snake River were paced by a trio of Panthers with double-digit numbers in the kill column with Brylie Bair leading the charge with 26 big hits. MaKena Shelly had 13 and Billie Gibson pounded home 10 in the winning effort. Raegan Martin was the table setter as the junior dished out 37 assists.
On the other end of the court the pesky Russets continued to show their determination as Kimber Call pounded out 12 kills as the Russets won both games one and three and nearly pulled out a comeback in game four.
"I'm very happy with how we are playing right now and I feel like we can only continue to get better," Shelley head coach Dave Cousins said. "We had a battle last night at Rigby and this was the second night where we played this rotation and I think that we will be there in the end."
Both teams will be back in action this Friday and Saturday as they travel north to Skyline for the Skyline Invitational Tournament beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday and then continuing on Saturday morning.