INDEPENDENCE – The Central High School Panthers battled for a 3-1 win against Lebanon on Sept. 10 – a win that almost didn’t happen.
A shaky third set resulted in a loss for the Panthers (2-2 overall, 1-1 Mid-Willamette Conference) when the Lebanon Warriors (0-3 overall, 0-2 MWC) powered through on a surge of energy and won 28-30.
“We lost our focus,” said head coach Bruce Myers. “We became very tentative and we weren’t assertive.”
The night didn’t start out that way: the Panthers won the first set 25-13. The second set was when things began to slip.
“We started off with good energy, and then in the middle we kind of lost that,” said junior Emily Cole. “We had low energy, we couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole we were in, and so I think we just need to keep up the good energy and not get so down on ourselves so quickly.”
Both teams were neck-and-neck in the third set, trading spots and knotting the score four times until the Warriors grab hold of the lead and didn’t let go.
The fourth set contained the same intensity as the third, with both teams grappling to knock the other out of the lead.
The Panthers eventually took it to win that set and the game, 25-23 and 3-1 overall.
“We won, and any time we win it’s good,” Myers said.
Recovering from a loss means shaking things off, Cole said.
“As our coach would say, ‘tap, tap, swoosh.’ And then you forget about it and move on,” she said.
Moving forward, it’s making sure the team is “doing the little things well and going back to the basics,” Cole said.
The Panthers face Silverton and Dallas tonight (Sept. 12) in a doubleheader at Silverton.