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Panthers pounce on Redskins

by Melissa Ray
LA VETA — In a hard fought battle last week between the Walsenburg Panthers and the La Veta Redskins on September 10, the Panthers came away with the win.
The Redskins had a difficult time hitting their targets when it came to spiking and serving. The Panthers, on the other hand, came out with cat-like patience stalking their prey. Despite long volleys in the first set, the score in the end was 25-14 in favor of the Panthers.
The second set started with excellent volleying. The teams traded point for point the entire set. The Redskins were on their spikes but Walsenburg was consistently under them. They brought their shovels to the game and they weren’t afraid to use them. Both teams had good hustle. This set ended with a Redskin victory, 25-23.
The third set opened up as an even battle with good volleys and amazing blocking by La Veta’s Hannah Everett and Becca Uebler. For the opponents, it was like coming up against a Mack truck. Walsenburg’s Karley Lasley was very sneaky with her spikes. The Panthers’ Kayleigh Espinoza and Alyssa Sandoval were consistently under the ball no matter how well Redskin Ashton Rinker spiked it. The set ended 26-24 in Walsenburg’s favor.
The Redskins came out with their quivers full in the fourth set but, despite fatigue setting in, the Panthers kept stalking and pouncing. It was obvious neither team was backing down. The fans were treated to more great volleying. The Lady Redskins took back the battlefield with a 25-23 win.
The fifth set would determine which team was going to win this battle. Lasley led her Panther team with accurate serves and continued stealthy spikes. Rinker pulled out her battle ax in response, sending spikes over the net that were hard to keep up with. La Veta’s “Mack” duo continued their incredible blocking. No matter what weapon the Redskins pulled out, they simply could not send a ball across the net that Espinoza and Deborah Aguirre weren’t able to bring up. The final score was 15-12 Panthers. The scrappy team had protected their territory.
To sum things up from the Panthers’ point of view, Coach Michael Vigil said,“Since the beginning of the game, all year long, I’ve been talking about our girls being scrappy. Tonight, that’s what they did. They fought hard and they were scrappy. They didn’t let anything hit the ground. They’re not very tall, so we’re just using our speed to make us the team we are this year. They got a little tired towards the end, but they fought hard and got scrappy again. Karley Lasley was our player of the game this week. She did what we’ve been asking for her to do all year long. She came out big for us tonight.”
Coach Brandi Menegatti of La Veta had a much briefer summary. “You cannot win when you make mistake after mistake after mistake. Gotta’ find a way to clean it up.”
The junior varsity teams also battled, with the Panthers coming out on top.
The first set was an easy win for the Panthers, but the Redskins came back tough for the final two sets and made the Panthers work hard for the kill.