PINEDALE — Lady Rangers traveled to Pinedale on Saturday afternoon for the last game of the regular season. The forecast called for a new winter storm to begin that evening, but Pinedale’s Wranglers brought their own storm to the Kemmerer players taking the win in all three sets.
“We didn’t execute well at all,” said coach Nielson. “We got in our heads and couldn’t get out.”
Kemmerer scored first as the matches began with Kyla Pollard serving. Rangers scored twice before Pinedale gained control and took the lead to 4-2. The Rangers got the ball back and Kenley Plowman serves up two more points to bring it to a tie 4-4. After an error Pinedale controls the ball for a good many volleys and racked the score to 11-5.
The Wranglers’ cheerleaders had the crowd stomping and yelling as the teams battled for points. There was a good size crowd of masked fans as everyone did their best to stay safe and social distance in the stands.
The lead began to spread as Pinedale kept the pressure on, for a score of 13-5. Kemmerer brought a couple more points when Olivia Nielson served, bringing it to 13-7. Before long the score was 20-11 and Kemmerer wasn’t able to put any more points on the board and the first match ends 25-11 Pinedale.
Set two Pinedale came out strong, scoring five points before Kemmerer called a time out and coach Nielson tried to get their heads back in the game. The Rangers kept fighting as the score climbed to 10-4, Pinedale in the lead. Ranger Sophomore Sydney Neria served up a few more points, bringing it to 10-8 before Pinedale turned it up again. Kemmerer called another time out when the score hit at 16-8 with Pinedale pressure not giving up. The Wranglers climbed to 24-10 and Kemmerer came out for one more try as Kalya Pollard served, gaining Kemmerer one more point for a 24-10 score. But it wasn’t in the cards for the ladies, Pinedale closed the set at 25-10.
Kemmerer Rangers started off strong in set three as they scored first, holding 2-0 lead and defiantly improved the score to 4-4 as Olivia Nielson served. Pinedale’s good blocking kept Kemmerer at bay, and they climbed the score to lead 9-4. The Wranglers took their toll on the scoreboard for Kemmerer and they fell further behind 18-5. Kemmerer called for another time out. Rangers managed to score two more points but couldn’t pull off the win. Pinedale took set three with a score of 25-10.
It was a tough loss for Kemmerer and they only have a few practices to prepare for regionals where they will face Pinedale again for a chance at state.
“We play Pinedale again for regionals,” said coach Nielson. “We have to go back to the basics and if we do that it will be a great game.”
Nielson explained they have been working on cleaning up some areas that have been giving the team troubles this week. After their experience with Pinedale last Saturday the team should have a good idea what they are facing.
“The girls know the strategy for this game and just need to execute it now, which I know they will. There are no more excuses, it’s game time.” Neilson said.
“Regionals are a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Neilson explained. “They have to win their first game, or the season is done. If we win the game against Pinedale, we will go to state. I have really enjoyed coaching these girls this year. I am fortunate to have seen them play since they started club ball and now it’s their time to shine. I’ll give them all the tools they need to beat Pinedale. Now they have to fight for that victory.”
The regional tournament has been moved to Pinedale as the Wranglers will hohost the games on Thursday at 2 p.m.