Priest River volleyball program checks off team goals en route to districts

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PRIEST RIVER — The Spartan volleyball team is ramping up and getting better with each contest, said head coach Leslie Ritter-Meeks Oct. 2. The Spartan volleyball program has achieved some of its season goals by taking a game from St. Maries, and by going the distance with Timberlake in a 29-27 game Sept. 28.

The Spartans lost at Timberlake 3-0 (25-13, 29-27, 25-12) Sept. 28. Tabitha Richey scored four kills and one ace against the Tigers, while teammate Harlee Meek contributed eight assists and one ace as well. Senior and team captain Emilee Clark made six blocks, six digs, and one ace against the Tigers.

St. Maries trounced Priest River in three out of four games 3-1 (25-6, 25-13, 22-25, 25-9) Sept. 26, but significantly the Spartans played an outstanding third game and avoided the sweep. Natalie Randolph made seven kills, Meek notched 15 assists, Clark had four blocks and two aces, and Samantha Kendle earned six digs.

Ritter-Meeks said the girls passed terribly during the first two games against the Lumberjacks, but played out of their minds to win the third game 25-22. St. Maries has a psychological edge on the Spartans, she said, and winning at least one game this season against the monsters in green and gold was a team goal.

“Volleyball is either up or down, and there’s no in-between. It’s amazing that we can play so bad for two games and then play so good the third game. St. Maries is so tough. They always are. The girls are starting to believe that they are capable of hanging with teams and beating them. It was one of our worst passing nights, and one of the best. For 25 points we played out of our minds. I was proud of them to take off and plug away one of our team goals,” said the coach.

Against Timberlake, the Spartans were up by five in the second game and then Timberlake plugged away at the Priest River lead. “We made a few minor errors that caused us to come up short,” said Ritter-Meeks.

She added that Meek has been great at moving the ball around, Natalie Randolph is a big threat and has been consistent all season, Clark has played well in the front row, and Maggee Pankoke hopes to come back from a knee injury to give the team good back row defense down the stretch.

“We’re that team that is ramping up and getting better with each match. I just hope that we can put it all together and come into districts strong. To play so close with Timberlake and take a game from St. Maries has made the girls believe that they can do it,” said the coach. It’s in their hands now to determine whether they come into districts as the third, fourth, or fifth seed, she said.

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