WENATCHEE — It wasn’t easy but the Chelan Goats kept their composure during a back-and-forth third set and held on to sweep Wenatchee (25-22, 25-14, 31-29) Monday night at Wenatchee High School.
The Mountain Goats lost some quality players from last season’s undefeated (and 2019 state champion) squad but they proved Monday that they are still a force in 1A.
Chelan’s Sasha Dandridge and Olivia Strandberg displayed some excellent power on a few of their kills and the Goats recorded a ton of blocks as a team.
Chelan broke out to a 9-3 lead in the opening set but the Panthers settled down and got back into the game with five straight points, thanks to kills from Ashton McMahon and senior Abby Black. The first set was a dogfight the rest of the way, with both teams trading momentum. Leading 18-17, the Goats scored six of the next seven points to take a decisive lead, and ultimately, the set.
The Panthers struggled out of the gate in the second set but they were able to recover and pull back within two points at 8-6. Chelan stretched its lead back to six though with a four-point run and maintained it throughout the set, eventually winning by 11.
Trailing by two sets, the Panthers needed to refocus during the break between sets. Mission accomplished. Wenatchee started to land more of their kills consistently and battled with Chelan throughout the set. There were a total of six lead changes and the score was tied 16 times.
Wenatchee had three chances to win the set and force a fourth, but Chelan endured through all three set-points and finished off the Panthers with a 31-29 set win, completing the sweep.
With Thursday’s game against Ephrata postponed, Chelan (2-1) now has a week off to get ready for Naches Valley on Tuesday, Sept. 21. First serve is at 7 p.m.
Playing in just their second match of the season, and first at home, the Panthers looked pretty good. Were there mistakes? Sure. Wenatchee also showed some resolve in that third set. Aside from West Valley, who swept Chelan last week, the Goats might be the stiffest competition the Panthers will face all season. And they competed in two of three sets.
The Panthers will look to bounce back this weekend when they travel down to Yakima for the SunDome Invitational. The tournament is scheduled to start at 8 a.m.