Panthers survive shaky start in tourney

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 25, 2002

NEW RICHLAND &045; There was some pressure on the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Panthers. They felt it and it showed. But they survived it.

The Panthers, seeded No. 3 the Sub-section 2AA East volleyball tournament, outlasted sixth-seeded Montgomery-Lonsdale 3-2 in a quarterfinal match at New Richland Thursday night. NRHEG won 9-15, 15-3, 15-12, 8-15, 16-14.

According to NRHEG coach Jackie Schultz, it was a combination of the Panthers’ rather sluggish play and the visitors’ hustle that made it so close.

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&uot;They were a very solid team,&uot; said Schultz. &uot;They had some height, they blocked us very well out of the middle, and they were very scrappy and ran down a lot of balls. That’s one thing we didn’t do that well tonight. We were kind of slow in the back row.&uot;

But not at the net.

&uot;Offensively, we did a nice job,&uot; said Schultz. &uot;Erin (Anderson) did a nice job distributing the ball to all of our consistent hitters. And we served well. We missed three or four all night, and that will win you some close games.&uot;

Anderson, the Panthers’ setter, totaled 35 assists. She also had seven point blocks, an area where the Panthers excelled.

Brandis Hagen, a freshman, appeared briefly in game four and had four kills.

Other individual statistics: Camille Kyte 12 kills, eight point blocks, six digs; Emily Hagen 28-for-28 serving, 15 points, 11 kills; Kalisha Anthony 19-for-20, 11 points, 14 point blocks, six kills; Chelsey Quiram 18-for-18, 11 points, six point blocks, five kills.

&uot;The girls played with a lot of heart,&uot; said Schultz. &uot;There’s a little pressure being the third seed against the sixth seed &045; you’re supposed to win. We’ve had a great season, but anything beyond this is gravy.&uot;

The Panthers, 22-3, advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round, most likely against No. 2 seed Kenyon-Wanamingo at Hayfield at approximately 7:30 p.m.