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A lot to take away from loss

DUFUR volleyball player Taylor Darden squares up a pass in Friday’s 1A match in Dufur. The Rangers ended up losing in four games to Imbler.

DUFUR volleyball player Taylor Darden squares up a pass in Friday’s 1A match in Dufur. The Rangers ended up losing in four games to Imbler. Photo by Ray Rodriguez.

The Dufur Rangers grabbed a 25-21 opening-set win and appeared to be headed towards a huge home win against Imbler, a top-7 volleyball team.

However, as the match wore on, the Lady Panther strengthened enough on defense and offense to post scores of 25-20, 25-19 and 25-12 to work a four-game victory Friday in 1A volleyball play in Dufur.

“I feel like we just kind of ran out of steam there,” said Dufur coach Kelly Darden. “We looked tired and we were being indecisive and not as aggressive.”

With the match tied at one game apiece, Imbler staked control in the third set with a lead as large as 22-15.

Taylor Darden then served four consecutive points, capped by an ace to inch the Rangers to within 22-19.

After a timeout, Imbler settled down and scored the final three points, the last on a kill by Stephanie McGilvray to end the set at 25-19.

In the fourth game, the Panthers led 9-5 early, but then Montana Ferres had a kill, McGilvray followed with a kill and Taylor Darden slammed down a kill shot to make it 11-9 Imbler.

The Panthers went on a 7-0 run, using three kills by Emma Bowers to pad their lead up to 18-9.

Dufur managed just three points the rest of the way, and the Panthers racked up more kills and points to close the deal by a 25-12 margin.

“We worked hard all week to prepare for this match because we knew Dufur was going to be a challenge,” said Imbler hitter Emma Bowers. “We all know that Dufur has strong hitters, strong servers and strong defense as well. The things we learned out on the court today are what we need to use for the rest of the season. We will use that as a learning tool to get better and improve.”

Malia Mills led Imbler with 16 kills and Jacey Teeter added 41 assists, 15 in the fourth game.

For the Rangers, Taylor Darden had 12 kills, 11 digs and seven service aces.

Teneille McDonald tacked on nine digs, four blocks and four kills, and Kyla Johnson chipped in with six assists and seven digs.

Senior setter Alexa Macias led with 13 assists, and tallied three digs, three aces and two kills.

“It's early still and this was a great measuring stick for us on the things that we need to do to keep improving,” coach Darden said. “We need to stay aggressive offensively and improve our reading on defense while minimizing unforced errors against such a good team.”

Dufur next hosts a tough Stanfield team at 5 p.m. next Thursday.

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