Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Banner falls in close 3-0 match to Lady Vikings


John Verser

Banner County's Danielle Flick, left, takes control with teammate Paige Cross in the background during last Thursday's home match against Guernsey-Sunrise. The Lady Wildcats led or had things tied up late in all three games before falling 3-0 to the Lady Vikings.

Banner County fought down to the wire in all three games Thursday night against Guernsey-Sunrise.

The Lady Wildcats had the lead or were tied in all three games before ultimately falling to the Lady Vikings by scores of 25-22, 28-26 and 25-22.

"Close games like (Thursday) are always tough to lose. Both teams obviously fought hard in every set, point by point," Banner coach Bethany Cooper said. "Of course, I wish we had come away with the win, but I cannot be more proud of how far my girls have come in just the last week. (Thursday) night proved their strength, diligence and teamwork. We are working hard and the results are showing."

Banner took the early 5-3 game one lead behind a pair of kills from Paige Cross. G-S came back for a 7-5 advantage and the game was nip and tuck throughout. The Lady Wildcats rallied for a 14-11 lead behind kills from Cross and Shay White, and held a 16-12 advantage on a MaKenna Dahlgrin kill. The Lady Vikings came back for a 17-16 advantage, and the Lady Wildcats knotted things at 19-19 with a Cross kill and a Dahlgrin ace. G-S rolled off five straight points and went on to win 25-22 in game one.

The Lady Wildcats started strong in game two. Cross got things rolling with a kill, followed by a Dahlgrin kill and a White ace for a 4-1 lead. Danielle Flick's kill put Banner up 7-4, before G-S roared back for an 11-7 advantage. The Lady Wildcats came back strong, with back-to-back Emily Singleton aces, as they tied the game at 12-12. From that point, neither team led by more than two points until late in the game. Banner knotted the game at 14-all on a Dahlgrin kill, and went up 19-18 on a White ace. White's kill put the Lady Wildcats up 21-19 and they built that led to 23-19. G-S chipped its way back into the game and tied things on a Mariah Klatt kill. The game continued past 25 as it was knotted at 26-all, until G-S scored two straight points to win 28-26.

Banner also started out strong in game three with a 4-1 advantage. The Lady Wildcats led most of the way, going up 7-4 on a Dahlgrin ace and 12-10 on an ace from Flick. G-S knotted the game at 14-all, before back-to-back Dahlgrin kills and a Cross ace put the home team back up 17-14. Banner led by scores of 18-14 and 19-16, before G-S began to chip into that advantage. The visiting team eventually knotted the game at 21-all, before outscoring the Lady Wildcats 4-1 down the stretch to win 25-22.

Banner stayed in all three games, despite losing all three down the stretch. Cooper said the young Lady Wildcats have been working on mental toughness and other avenues throughout the season to improve in those situations.

“One thing we’ve been focusing on this season is mental toughness,” Cooper said. “(Thursday) proved just how much my girls have been pushing themselves and each other to be better, to be stronger, to work hard for the next point. We’ve adopted the acronym W.I.N - What’s Important Now. I have full confidence that my girls will continue to work hard in this area, but a fundamental mindset adjustment does not happen over night.

“I am extremely impressed with the way they have adjusted their attitudes and game already and cannot be more excited for the rest of the season. There are some specific skills we will focus on, yes. But they will fall in line with more touches, more experience.”

Thursday’s contest was also the first at home for the Lady Wildcats this season. They opened the season with seven straight road or neutral site matches.

“It was great to finally play at home. I wish we had a game sooner,” Cooper said. “There is a lot of support here at Banner County. The parents, staff and students have all played a large role in the development of our program and will continue to do so. You could feel the energy throughout the whole game. It changed the way we played. We have been receiving a lot of compliments and encouragement from many who had and had not attended (Thursday) night’s game.”

Guernsey-Sunrise 3, Banner County 0


MaKenna Dahlgrin 7, Danielle Flick 4, Paige Cross 4, Shay White 2.


John Verser

Savannah Jordan, left, and Emily Singleton each make a play for the ball during last Thursday's match.

Shay White 2, Danielle Flick 2, MaKenna Dahlgrin 2, Emily Singleton 1.


Danielle Flick 1, MaKenna Dahlgrin 1.


Savannah Jordan 9, Shay White 5, Paige Cross 4, MaKenna Dahlgrin 4, Emily Singleton 3, Danielle Flick 1.


Paige Cross 6, Savannah Jordan 5.


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