Lady Wranglers hold the line at Border Wars

Joan Mitchell photo Senior Haylen Sandner powers a kill over the net during the border wars.

EVANSTON – The Jordan High School volleyball team from Sandy, Utah, won the first set against the Pinedale Lady Wranglers by a wide margin at the Border Wars Tournament in Evanston on Sept. 2-3.

The athletes from Jordan, a school in a Salt Lake City suburb with a population 10 times higher than Sublette County, delivered one powerful hit after another.

As the teams switched sides for the second set, the Lady Wranglers paused to reboot before hitting the court with a vengeance.

Jordan hit the net returning a serve by Pinedale senior McKenzie Illoway. Illoway aced the next serve. Senior Haylen Sandner tipped a point across the net before slamming over a kill.

Sandner and junior Trista Covill blocked Jordan’s attempt to score. Sandner whipped up another kill, placing Pinedale in the lead by four points.

The Lady Wranglers won the second set by two points, forcing Jordan to square off in a tie-breaking third set. Battling point-for-point, Pinedale maintained the lead, with senior Toree Andersen acing game point.

Pinedale’s victory over Jordan proved the Lady Wranglers are turning up the intensity and are able to competitive against any team, regardless of size.

The endurance the Lady Wranglers demonstrated against Jordan carried Pinedale through a grueling schedule of eight games in a two-day span. The Border Wars pit Wyoming teams against a variety of programs from Utah and Idaho. Opponents competed to win the best of three sets, with the first two sets played to 25 points.

The Lady Wranglers held their own at the tournament, winning three of four games on the first day and two out of four on the second.

Day 1

The Lady Wranglers hit the court ready to make some noise on the first day, beating Stansbury High School from Stansbury Park, Utah, 2-0. Pinedale won the first set, 25-21, followed by a 25-16 victory.

Following a 2-0 loss to Waterford High School from Sandy, Utah, Pinedale rallied to score a 2-0 win against the American Preparatory Academy of Draper, Utah, located in the Salt Lake City area. The Lady Wranglers led, 25-18, in set one and 25-16 in set two.

On Friday evening, Pinedale delivered a 2-0 victory against Grace, Idaho, winning both sets, 25-18.

Day 2

Early Saturday morning, Jordan’s hitters whipped up the points in the first set, overtaking Pinedale, 25-9.

Undaunted by the loss, the Lady Wranglers regrouped in the second set. Illoway served up the first two points. Sandner unleashed a set of kills and Covill blocked for a pair of points.

Illoway tipped over point 13 followed by a kill from Covill. Junior Ana Mika served up a pair of aces. Senior Mikayla Drake scored point 20 with a dig. Sophomore Gabby Rogers slammed over a kill. Sandner scored game point, 25-23, on an assist by junior Reagan Davis.

In the third set, Rogers scored first. Senior libero Sara Kunard bumped the ball to Davis. Davis set the ball and Sandner tipped it over. Rogers served up two points. Sandner pumped over a kill set up by Davis.

Andersen stepped up to serve and scored three points, including game point, 15-11.

Pinedale took on Spanish Fork High School, from Provo, Utah, in the subsequent game.

Spanish Fork won the first set, 25-20.

The Lady Wranglers turned the tables in the second set. Drake aced her first serve. Sophomore Mae McGuire slammed over a pair of kills. Anderson and Sandner both aced a point.

Pinedale maintained the initiative with hits by Rogers and blocks by Covill. Illoway served up a pair of aces, including game point, 25-15.

Spanish Fork took an early lead in the third set. The Lady Wranglers edged up with powerful serves from Drake. Covill and Rogers scored a pair of hits, and Pinedale tied Spanish Fork at point 5.

Spanish Fork regained the lead at point 8. Davis aced point 9. Kunard dug deep for a save and sent the ball to Davis, who set it up for McGuire to score the kill. Illoway smashed over a kill off an assist by Davis.

Kunard caught another save and delivered the ball to Davis, setting Covill up to score a hit. Drake served point 14. Sandner scored game point, 15-13, assisted by Davis.

On Saturday afternoon, Pinedale fell, 2-0, to South Summit High School from Kamas, Utah. The Lady Wranglers put up a tough fight against Juan Diego Catholic High School from Draper, though Pinedale ultimately fell, 2-1.

The tournament season continues with the Lady Wranglers traveling to the Rawlins Tournament on Sept. 9-10. Pinedale hosts Big Piney in the Wrangler Gym on Tuesday, Sept. 13, with junior varsity playing at 5 p.m., followed by varsity.