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Photo by Wayne Crick Freshman Jullian Carlson nestles the ball on her finger tips against the Grand Valley Cardinals last Friday night. Jillian finished the match with 10 assists and sister Abby dished out another 14. The Panthers won the 3A WSL match, 3-0.
Photo by Wayne Crick Delta junior Julia Mewhinney (13) sends the ball over the net in front of a Moffat County defender last week. Poised for a return are Sara Geddes, left, and Jillian Carlson (9).
Photo by Wayne Crick Junior Sara Geddes drives a shot into a double-block from Moffat County defenders Sept. 14. Delta won the match in three sets, 25-22, 25-13 and 25-10, with Geddes posting five kills.

Delta wins 3 of 4 in net tilts

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Delta's Panthers were in Paonia Sept. 11 for a long-time rivalry with the Eagles. The two teams have battled in sports for decades with little regard as to which team had the larger classification number. This year has been no different than in the past. A motivated and energetic Paonia team held the Panthers at bay to post a 3-0 non-conference victory last week. The Eagles (2A/1A WSL) outgunned Delta (3A WSL) 25-22, 25-16 and 25-19 to walk away with a shutout over their rivals to the south.

The Eagles suffered a 3-0 loss (25-12, 25-16 and 25-18) at Coal Ridge on Friday to fall to 4-4 overall on the season.

For their Homecoming on Friday, the Eagles will host a conference game against 4-3 Plateau Valley at 5 p.m.

The Panthers rebounded Thursday (Sept. 13) in Parachute to score a 3-1 victory over league foe Grand Valley.

Delta concluded the week against another league opponent, Moffat County, on Saturday. The Panthers won that match 3-0.

Against Paonia, the Eagles' Poppy Lightfoot was electric with 17 kills, 11 digs and 13 service receptions. Delta coach Beth Nelson had nothing but the highest praise for the play of Lightfoot. "She absolutely led her team to the win. She did everything!"

Junior Sadie Miller posted nine kills, five aces, eight digs and finishes with 11 service receptions for the Eagles.Senior Jessica Deaton was good for five aces and 21 digs while senior Carly Horn doled out 32 assists.

Delta's leaders were freshman Erika Kuta with five kills and three blocks; junior Sara Geddes with four kills, 10 digs and 19 service receptions; freshman Jillian Carlson with six digs and seven assists and junior Haylin McCulloch who finished with nine digs and 22 service receptions.

In Parachute, Delta controlled play in the opening two sets with wins of 25-12 and 25-16. Grand Valley came to life in the third set and maintained an energy that proved to be strong enough to post a 25-22 win in set three.

The Panthers gained momentum late in the fourth set on freshman Erika Kuta's service. Kuta took the service with the Panthers trailing 13-12 and served up eight straight points to put Delta in front 20-14. The Panthers outscored Grand Valley 5-4 the rest of the way for the match win, 25-18.

Senior Lauren Davey had nine kills and Kuta another seven in the win for Delta.

Senior Abby Carlson and freshman Jillian Carlson finished with 14 and 10 assist, respectively.

Saturday's match with Moffat County was another top tier game for Kuta who finished the weekend with seven kills to lead the Panthers in that category with Davey equalling that number. Geddes collected five kills to end the week with nine kills.

Davey and Kuta were Delta's blocks leaders with four each while McCulloch had 12 digs and Gieck another 11. McCulloch was also the receptions leader for the Panthers with 15.

The Carlson sisters were Delta's assists leaders with Abby finishing with 11 and Jillian adding nine to her week's totals.

Aspen and Cedaredge are listed atop the 3A WSL standings with perfect league marks of 3-0 with Coal Ridge (2-0) and Delta (3-0) close behind. The Skiers are 3-0 overall with Cedaredge (7-1), Coal Ridge (6-3) and Delta (8-2) filling the top four spots overall.

Delta played Cedaredge Sept. 18 and is scheduled to face Hotchkiss (in Hotchkiss) Sept. 20 with varsity action set for 6:30 p.m.

The Panthers will host Palisade on Sept. 25 (6:30 p.m. varsity start) and take on league-leaders Aspen Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m.

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