The Cottage School Lady Cougars met up with the Brandon Hall Panthers on Thursday evening. Rumor has it the Panthers anticipated a quick afternoon visit with the Cougars, however, they encountered a bit more of a challenge than they expected. While the Panthers ended up winning the match, the Cougars did not offer them an easy win.

The first set was met with strong serving from the Cougars. After some struggles with serving the day before, Lady Cougars Esther Buckingham, Julia Baumohl, Brandy Michelle Finnell and Bethany Lingle all served 3+ consecutive serves, along with aces from all four players. Erin McNeal came in off the bench helping to secure additional service points. The team showed their growth in their court coverage; reading, anticipating and covering the court with the continuous balls that the Panthers kept dropping midcourt. Co-captain Alecta Feely served the winning set point; the Cougars took the first set 25 – 22.

The Lady Cougars began set 2  with enthusiasm and energy. In addition to the strong serving ability seen on the court, the ladies moved the ball well. While we did not run our offense as we could have, they figured out where to place the ball on the Panther court earning them the serve. They continued to successfully do this throughout the set. Grace Williams, Esther Buckingham, Emily Daugherty and Brandy Michelle Finnell were on point with this ball placement. They consistently put balls deep and along the sidelines, making it tough for them to return. Unfortunately, the Cougars struggled with dropped balls tight on the net. They tried desperately to change the tide, but this set went to the Panthers, 17-25.

Set 3 began with strong serves from both Grace Williams and Esther Buckingham. The Panthers kept trying to drop balls in the Cougar center court, however, the crafty Cougars continued their coverage and held tight. The volleys were pretty and fun to watch. It is awesome that an errant pass no longer ends the play. They fought to win each point. After a long battle, the Panthers finished the set, 21-25.

The Lady Cougars were ready to go with the 4th set. They again used smart passing to the Panther backcourt to continuously earn back the serve. Serving was not quite as consistent in this set, Esther has 4 consecutive serves, newcomer Anna Scalf had 3. The Cougars struggled with pass receive and lost their footing. They still had a number of amazing volleys that were evidence of their teamwork. The Panthers won this set 18-25.

Coach Tasha and I are so very proud of the team and all their efforts so far this season. Thank you to all that came out to cheer us on and we hope you will continue to follow our season! Go Cougars!