Panthers welcome their new facilities

A brand new start

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The Washougal girls soccer and volleyball teams tasted victory on their new playing surfaces.

An excited crowd inside the Joe Brown Gymnasium anxiously waited for the first volleyball match to begin on the new hardwood floor. Brown’s wife, Jane Dally, and son, Jeff, held up the orange ribbon for the Washougal volleyball players to run through.

“I like the big Panther in the middle,” said senior volleyball player Emily Field. “It looks sweet.”

Nerves got the best of the Panthers Sept. 10, but they gained confidence with each point they earned against an experienced Heritage squad.

“With each set, they started coming together more,” said head coach Mallorie Thompson. “For going up against a 4A school, I thought we did really well.”

Fans walked out of the gym with enough time to see the Washougal soccer team put the finishing touches on a 3-2 victory against Heritage, at Fishback Stadium.

The Panthers trailed 1-0, when freshman Baylee Wright netted the tying goal on an assist by freshman Libby Gregory. Seniors Isabelle Sampson and Haley Briggs added goals in the second half to give Washougal the lead for good.

“We’re not the most technical team yet, but we’re hard workers and that pays off in the end,” Sampson said.

Although Sampson was thrilled to score the leading goal, she also delivered the through ball that Briggs finished off. That turned out to be the decisive goal.

“She always gives those to me,” Sampson said. “It was nice to give her a treat this time.”

Head coach Harrison Martin enjoyed seeing the support from the community for the first soccer game on their new home turf. It gave the Panthers that extra boost of energy.

“I just want the girls to enjoy this win because they worked so hard for it,” he said. “Our goal is to come out and compete and contest every ball. We want to get better every game.”

The Washougal volleyball team defeated Fort Vancouver 25-18, 25-22 and 25-19 on the road Thursday. Paige Bentley provided 10 assists and a block. Kayla Cayton had 3 blocks and a kill. Baylei Williams fired 5 kills and 3 aces.

“Not only did the varsity team win, but junior varsity did as well,” Thompson said. “That gym was just screaming Panther pride. It was the best feeling in the world.”

The Panthers had the perfect encore Monday night. They beat Fort Vancouver 25-19, 25-18 and 25-17 on their new home floor.

“It was definitely a nice feeling inside,” Cayton said. “We need to stay grounded and continue to work hard for every single point.”

“One-hundred percent, all the time, is what I want for this season,” Field added. “Leaving it all on the court.”