Panther volleyball gearing up for 2016 season

By Carla Hutson
Outlook staff writer

The Lady Panther volleyball team is working hard in preparation for the upcoming season, focusing on fundamental skills and creating a dynamic team that will be a challenger to other district and divisional teams.
Head Coach Karlee Popp is working with a strong mix of seasoned players with experience and a large incoming freshman class. Popp is back for her third year as head coach, assisted this year by Allie Hein.
The Panther varsity team this year will feature seniors MacKinzie Verke, Tehya Ray, Shelby Branstetter, Shelby Kluth, Makayla Downing and Breanna Anderson with junior Brittany Frank and sophomore Blakeley Verke. Popp is also excited to welcome nine new freshmen to the program.
“Our offense and defense is looking very strong,” said Popp. “Our seniors have been very active through the off season. Many of our players competed at a tournament in Dillon over the summer and placed second overall.” Popp plans to go back to the fundamentals with her team and focus on a traditional bump-set-spike style of volleyball.
“There are some very scrappy teams in our district, so we’ll have to be prepared for anything,” she commented. Custer-Hysham, Bridger and Reed Point-Rapelje are expected to have strong teams this year, but Park City is ready meet challengers at the district, divisional and state level.
“Most of all I want them to have fun,” said Popp. “I want them to be confident and come out with a positive attitude. We’re going to focus on setting and achieving goals as a team.”
The Lady Panthers start their season at the Columbus tournament on Aug. 27. They’ll finish the regular season on Oct. 20 against Absarokee and move into districts Oct. 27-29, divisionals Nov. 3-5 and the all-class state tournament Nov. 10-12 in Bozeman.

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