Outlaws start strong against state champs

<I>Hector del Castillo/Chieftain</I><BR>The Lady Outlaws celebrate their victory in the first game against the Imbler Panthers.

The Lady Outlaws got a glimpse of their potential.

Enterprise High School's volleyball team opened this season Sept. 2 at home by shocking everybody in the gym. The young girls' first game ended as a victory over Imbler, a defending state champion. However, the visiting Panthers eventually claimed the overall match by sweeping the next three decisions.

"We surprised ourselves," Enterprise senior Hannah Graham said. "We played with heart. We were all nervous. We didn't know what to expect. We'll start realizing that the more we play together."

Right away, Enterprise caught Imbler dragging its feet. Junior middle blocker Shelby Graning rejected hits at the net. Sophomore Elsa Steen delivered strong serves. Before the Panthers could take a breath, they trail by a score of 7-1. Graham scored a kill, increasing the Outlaws' lead to 11-4.

Even after Imbler regrouped, Enterprise kept its composure. The Panthers took a 16-15 lead, before the Outlaws went on a roll. Freshman Amy Edison's kill tied the score. Sophomore Marta Stangel followed with a block. Graning served as Enterprise went up, 22-19. In the end, the Panthers misplayed a serve by sophomore Myranda McFetridge. That gave the Outlaws a 25-23 win.

Imbler dominated the next two games. Fresh off a loss, the Panthers scored five straight points before Graning's block put the Outlaws on the board. Imbler wound up winning, 25-13. The third game ended in similar fashion.

Enterprise threatened to even the match in the fourth game. Graning started with a kill and then a block. The rest of the game, action flowed back-and-forth. Stangel's kill evened the score, 6-6. The Outlaws took their biggest lead, 15-11, thanks to kills by Steen and Graham. But Imbler settled down. Sophomore Kylie Willis managed the last point for Enterprise. Her ace trimmed the Outlaws' deficit to one, before the Panthers finished the night with a 4-0 run.

"I think we played well," Graham said "It was our first match. I had a lot of fun. It was a good beginning to this season."

After the weekend, the Outlaws played another match Sept. 7 in Joseph. It happened too late for this edition of the Chieftain.

Next, Enterprise will send its varsity to a tournament Sept. 10 in Yakima, Wash. Action begins at 8 a.m.

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