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Panthers end quest for volleyball title

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Photo by Wayne Crick Delta senior Dani Sakala gets a good swing on the ball during pool play against Colorado Springs Christian in first round action in Class 3A State Volleyball Tournament at the Denver Coliseum in Denver Nov. 11-12.

The goal was to get out of pool play in last weekend's 3A State Volleyball Championships. Coach Beth Nelson had confidence her Panthers were up to the task after drawing the No. 10 seed in Pool 3. The Panthers had No. 3 Colorado Springs Christian and No. 6 Resurrection Christian to contend with.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, CSC was more acclimated to the environment of the cavernous Denver Coliseum on Friday and dealt Delta a 3-0 setback in first round play. Saturday's second match, in Pool 3 play, was a 3-1 loss to a tough Resurrection Christian team 3-1, ending Delta's 2016 volleyball campaign.

Delta finished the year as 3A WSL champions with a 9-0 record and a 20-7 record overall for the 2016 season.

CSC 3, DHS 0

Things didn't work our as planned from the early stages of Delta's matchup against third-seeded Colorado Springs Christian. The Panthers committed numerous errors and were visibly nervous to begin play.

Delta suffered everything from a foot fault to rotation miscues in the loss to the Lions.

An Emily Baier kill in the opening set pulled the Panthers to within 12-18 at one point. Even though Delta was making good hits it couldn't put the ball in the gaps for points.

Eventually, Delta fell in set one 14-25.

Set two was much of the same, resulting in an 11-25 loss.

The Panthers played their best game in set three but wasn't able to salvage a win in a 19-25 loss.

Baier, the team leader in kills for the season, pounded 12 kills against the Lions. She also finished with eight digs and nine service receptions.

Emily Nortnik had 13 digs and 19 assists with Makayla Mills finishing with 14 digs. Other top performers for the Panthers included Harlee Roberts (10 digs, 16 service receptions), Lexi Quinn (three kills and 20 service receptions), Shelbi Ledesma (15 service receptions) and Dani Sakala with four kills.

CSC (23-5) got 12 kills and 11 digs from Bailey Scott with teammate Christine Ajayi serving five aces and collecting 15 digs. Cassie Davis finished with 21 digs and 36 assists and Julia Ridgway had 19 digs.

RCHS 3, DHS 1

Saturday morning's play against Resurrection Christian began with a 14-25 loss for the Panthers.

Delta's game improved in set two but the Cougars scored a 25-18 decision to take a 2-0 lead.

The Panthers played their best game of the tournament with a 25-16 win in set three.

A valiant effort in set three came up short with the Cougars scoring a 25-22 win to win the match, 3-1.

Kill leaders for the Panthers included Baier and Sakala with 10 each.

Mills had five blocks and Baier and Sakala had three blocks each to lead Delta in that catergory.

Digs' leaders for the Panthers were Mills and Quinn with 18 each. Roberts Ledesma had 13 and 11 digs, respectively.

Nortnik's 20 assists paced Delta's players.

The Cougars' kill leader was Kyra Zuhlke with 13 while Keighan Miller had six aces and 18 digs. Kaylin Brand had five blocks and Saylor Webb had 33 assists for Resurrection Christian.

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