Jefferson High’s volleyball squad went into the meat of its conference schedule on Monday still looking for its first real test—and the team got it, falling to the Broadwater Bulldogs in Townsend for their first loss of the season.

Last week, the Panthers won two matches—giving them a 4-0 record heading into Monday’s faceoff—toppling Livingston’s Park High from Livingston and Sweet Grass County—both in straight sets. Jefferson hadn’t yet dropped a set until Monday, when they lost in four sets: 18-25, 26-24, 15-25, 23-25.

Against Park High, the Panther C team opened with a three-set win, 25-8, 25-10, 15-9; and the JV squad followed suit, 25-16, 25-8, 15-13.

In the varsity match, Rachel Van Blaricom opened with an ace, and Dakota Edmisten slammed over a hard kill and followed with a sneak kill to put the Panthers up 5-0. An Edmisten ace made it 12-3. A long serve gave Park a point, but the Panthers then went on a 9-5 run, capped by a hard kill by Edmisten to take the first game, 25-9.

The teams stayed close in the early going of the second set, but the Panthers settled down and worked their way to a 8-3 lead on an ace by Emma McCauley, and to 18-10 on a kill by Sophie Livesay. Opponents prepare for Edmisten’s hard kills, so when she sneaks over a little soft kill it really takes them by surprise; in this case, her tap made it 20-11. Park fought back and pulled to within five, 23-18, but the Panthers took next two points to win 25-18.

In game three, the error bug bit the Panthers, who found themselves in the unusual position of being down early—7-1 and then 10-5. But Van Blaricom started a comeback that saw the Panthers gradually work back into the game. They tied the game at 19, then again at 21, and finally went on a 4-0 run to pull out the win 25-21.

Edmisten led the team with 20 kills, while Van Blaricom had 4 blocks and 3 aces. Sydney Mace provided 14 assists and Emma McCauley had 14 digs.

Sweet Grass County was in “Pantherville” on Saturday for a conference counter. Once again, the Panther C team kicked things off with a win, 3-1, and the JV squad won in three. The varsity girls wasted no time, taking their match in three sets, 25-16, 25-14, 25-13. Van Blaricom led the with 17 kills, McCauley notched 24 digs and a pair of aces, Gracie Leiva had 16 assists and Bayley Toney 4 blocks.

The Panthers were scheduled to play in Manhattan on Tuesday, before Saturday’s away match at Whitehall. 

Football

It’s been a long time since Jefferson High and Cut Bank have met in football, so there wasn’t much history to go on before last Friday’s matchup in Cut Bank.

The first half didn’t provide many clues either: The Panthers scored early, but both teams struggled to get points on the board in the second quarter, leaving the Panthers up just 7-0 at the half.

But Jefferson added a touchdown and a 41-yard field goal by Dylan Root in the third, and Jace Oxarart blocked a punt for a safety. And in the fourth, the Panthers put it away with nine more points and a strong defense to make the final a 26-0 shutout. 

Riley Stock had a 1-yard run for a touchdown, Braden Morris scored on runs of 15 and 5 yards, and Root added three extra-point kicks to his field goal.

This week the Panthers have another long road trip, this time to Big Fork on Friday for their last non-conference game. After that, they’ll face only conference competition for the rest of the regular season. 

Cross-country

The Panthers traveled to Bozeman for the second time in as many weeks, and most of the runners improved on their times. Logan Gillmore ran the course in 19:05 and Dylan Mikesell in 19:22. Luke Mest followed in 20:25, Dominick Hurlbert in 20:27, Mike Emter in 21:46, and Matthew Zelenka in 25:40. For the Lady Panthers, Emma Popp ran the course in 29:14 and Austie May in 29:32.

This week the “Hoofers” will travel to Missoula for the large Mountain West meet. This is run on the same course as the state meet, providing an opportunity for a good tune-up.    

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