In any sport, on any given night, a good team can have a bad go at it.
However, a truly great team, even when things aren't going its way will always find a way to win. The Panther Valley volleyball team showed on Monday that their not yet at the level of great, but their on the right path.
The Lady Panthers (7-1, 6-1 SL) dropped the first set of a Schuylkill League Division 1/2 match-up to a feisty Tamaqua squad 25-22, but came back strong to win the next three 25-18, 25-22, and 25-12.
The Raiders (3-6, 1-6 SL) looked poised to upset PV as they showed some grit in the first set.
The Panthers jumped out to an early 7-3 lead, but Tamaqua made it evident from the get go that they were not going to go away easily. The Raiders scored five straight points to take a one-point lead as the two would then battle back and forth for most of the set.
Rebecca Minehan was most impressive for the Tams in the frame coming up with four consecutive aces to help them gain a 19-15 advantage. The teams would continue to battle and then it was PV's turn to make a comeback. The Panthers knotted things up at 20, but the Raiders led by Rylee Devlin closed out the frame with 25-22 win. Devlin added a kill and an ace for Tamaqua to help them surge to the first set win.
"Our girls have been playing a lot better and a lot more consistent," said Tamaqua coach Stacy Setlock. "We really seemed to have it all together there in that first set. We just ran out of steam. The main thing is that we are improving. We already won more games this year than we did all of last year and as you can see tonight we are sticking with the better teams in our league."
The Raiders were running out of steam just as the Panthers starting to pick up some.
The Panthers never trailed in the second set, cruising to a 25-18 win. Tamaqua helped the Panthers cause by committing 11 errors in the set. PV's Jessica Wiese was their force in the second game and on the night. Wiese had three kills and a block in the game and 18 kills, two assists, six blocks, and six service points for the match.
In the third, Tamaqua made it interesting once again, holding a 20-14 lead late in the set.
As noted, good even great teams perform best when their backs are against the wall. The Panthers stormed back, scoring nine unanswered to take a three-point lead. They finished off the Raiders with a 25-22 win when sophomore Jamie Mikovich sent a kill down the right side of the Tamaqua defense.
Mikovich, much like most of her teammates showed glimpses of greatness throughout the night, but it's obvious the Lady Panthers need to put together a more consistent effort with the type of talent they have.
"It feels good to get a win tonight even though we didn't play our best," said Panther Valley coach Nancy Filer. "There's no doubt we need to be gelling better and I'm hoping that happens soon for us. We also need to get off to better starts and have the same spark out of the gate that we had when we were down tonight. You see glimpses of possibilities out there, we just have to put it all together."
In the fourth and eventual final set the Panthers dominated, taking the set 25-12 and the match 3-1.
PV's Kayla Kashack also had a nice night, recording 21 service points, 10 digs, and five aces. Rachelle Van Horn also chipped in with five kills, 12 assists, 11 service points, two aces, and four digs.
For Tamaqua, Carly Trovinger came up with 19 service points, five aces, 13 assists, three kills, and five digs. Minehan added nine service points. six aces, four kills, and four digs.