THOMAS — Last week Snake River head coach Shelli Van Orden said she wanted to fight for every win she got during the season.
Well in Thursday night's season opener against Sugar-Salem, the Panthers got the fight she wanted.
Van Orden said the Lady Panthers earned a three set win 26-16, 25-22, 25-21 over the visiting Lady Diggers.
"It was nice to get them in three," Van Orden said. "Last year it took us for sets to defeat them. They are pretty good, but we are really good."
There was definitely some of the first game jitters on both sides of the court as for the opening 20 points it was a back and forth affair. But with score 11-9 in favor of the Lady Panthers the team went on a 7-0 run to build a 16-9 lead.
After a couple of Lady Diggers points, Snake River went on another run, this time 8-0 to build a 23-11 lead. A Brylie Bair kill capped off the run.
The teams exchanged points before the Lady Panthers were able to close out the set.
Things were not so easy for the Lady Panthers in the next two sets. In fact, the Panthers trailed in both.
"I think Sugar stepped up in the last two sets," Van Orden said. "But I was really proud of how each of players stepped up and played tonight."
Trailing 4-2 in the second set a kill by Bair, appeared to be the spark the team needed to get going as the Panthers would battle to tie the game 10-10. That was the last time the game was tied until late in the set.
A combination of errors and nerves allowed the Lady Diggers to rally back and tie the set at 22-22. Undaunted, the Panthers scored the final three points to win the set.
The third and final set was much of the same for both teams.
Sugar actually led 10-7 early in the set as it appeared fatigue was setting in for the Panthers. But the Panthers were not tired they were just looking to rally.
Snake River tied the score seven times in the set, the last at 16-16 before they were able to finally close out the match.
Bair led the Panthers with 12 kills and 10 digs. Billie Gibson added four kills and six digs. Hannah Murdoch led the Panthers with 15 kills.