Lady Panthers Take On Ruthless Cougars
Photos by Cindy Valade
Last week, the Lady Panthers’ volleyball team suffered their first loss of the year against the ruthless Coronado Cougars, one of the best squads in the state.
The undefeated Panther netters came into the game optimistic since they had won more games than Coronado, but the Cougars dominated them by a 3-1 set margin.
The Panthers, though, made a valiant comeback after losing the first set and falling behind in the next volleyball game.
The match took place on April 7 and the stands were nearly filled to capacity, as crowds from both teams came to the WP high school gym to cheer the players on. The two teams looked so good that the spectators were left on the edges of their seats all night.
During the four sets played, barely any points were earned from bad serves or sloppy mistakes. Just about every rally went back and forth across the net several times and it was a surprise to see which team would end up with the point.
Both sides made some good scores and picked up some stellar saves. The Cougars started off looking fierce as they picked up the win on the first set 25-18.
But the Lady Panthers didn’t lose confidence because they came into the second set with a vengeance. During the second set the Panthers let the Cougars get a five-point lead about halfway through the set. But then, the girls came back swinging and won the set 25-23.
The WP volleyball head skipper was hoping that since the girls won their second set that they would have the confidence to get back in there and win the match. However, the Cougars reaffirmed their dominance by winning both the next two sets 25-19 and 25-22, respectively.
Outside Hitter Allie Tring led the Panther team during the match with a total of 13 kills. Junior Grace McClintock and sophomore Kyra Kidd both tied in second best with 10 kills apiece. Sophomore Libero Sydney Roshek also helped the team by picking up two aces.
After the team’s tough loss, they played another match against Canon City at home where they won 3-2. The girls currently have a 7-1 overall record with a 6-1 league tally. The girls are currently in second place in their 4A Colorado Springs Metro League, now sitting one game behind Coronado.
The ladies have two weeks of play left in their season and they play three games each week.
This Tuesday the Lady Panthers take on the 3-4 Harrison Panthers at home. On Thursday, they hit the road to challenge the 0-8 Widefield Gladiators. Then on Saturday, they come back home to play the 4-4 Palmer Terrors.
Woodland Park High School Boys’ Soccer Team Breaks Losing Streak
The Panthers showed a slight improvement last week as they were able to pick up a win and break a four-game losing streak. The Panthers now have an overall record of 3-5 and a league record of 1-3.
Last Tuesday, the team lost to Mesa Ridge by a 4-0 score. Then, they picked up their third win of the season on Thursday when they beat Widefield 5-0 during the first game they have played at their home field this season.
The team’s coach Andy Pappadakis said that the team played “bad soccer,” but he was happy that they were able to pull off a win. He has said all season that he is not focused on getting a good record this year. Instead, he is more interested in seeing the young, inexperienced team play good soccer.
The coach said that despite their low league rankings, he is happy with the progress he has seen within the team, consisting of many young players. “At this point in the season, everybody’s learning curves have been measurable,” Pappadakis said. “I think we have quite a bit of progress going on.”
The Panthers have two games left this season so the coach is starting to focus on the team’s future.
“Since we only have a couple of games left, we need to finalize some of our future positions,” Pappadakis explained. “There’s three kids that I am trying to train for central mid-field in order to control the tempo of the game. They are going to be the center of our strategy so to speak, but they are all sophomores and they are all small. So, they are going to have to grow figuratively if not literally over the next six months because we start again in fall.”
The coach is currently working on getting the young players ready to replace key positions the team will be losing due to graduation. Some of the forthcoming soccer standout could be freshman goalie Caden Bolin, who the team will be looking to guard the net next year.
As far as star players go, junior Alex Vonderharr has impressed the coach this year. Vonderharr also had a stellar season on the football team as a punter and a kicker by earning more points than any other player.
“Alex’s (Vonderharr) family moved here last year and he is an adopted student from Bulgaria,” Pappadakis said. “He is a legitimate European player. In my perspective, Alex is so far the best player I have seen in the league. Alex could play for anybody in the state he is that good.”
The coach said that Vonderharr has scored far more goals than anyone else on the team. Vonderharr has racked up 12 goals this year and the next best has been freshman Ryder James with four.
This Tuesday, the boys take on the 3-1-1 Canon City Tigers on the road. Then on Thursday, they play their last “senior special” game on their home fields against the 4-1 Harrison Panthers.