FORESTVILLE — The Forestville volleyball team opened up their season against last year’s state finalist, the Panama Panthers. Despite the Hornets putting up a valiant effort, Panama was able to defeat Forestville 25-14, 25-17, 25-15, in a non-league battle on Friday night.

“It was a great test at the beginning of the season,” said Forestville coach Sonia Ortolano. “This was a way to see what we need to work on. I was afraid that they were going to freeze since they are a young team, but I am proud of how they hustled, worked together, and did not get down.”

In the first set, Forestville (0-1) tallied the first three points behind two aces from Rachael Goodrich. Panama responded with nine of the next 10 points with solid kills from both outside hitters Kylie Schnars and Madalyn Bowen.

“Early on, we struggled to cover the middle,” Panama coach Tammy Hosier stated. “We were able to make those adjustments and the team did a great job of covering the open floor. The libero also made some quality gets, which made our passing easier.”

Panama (2-0) kept up the momentum early in the second set as the entire team was able to cover the floor and efficiently pass the ball forward.

“Our communication was superb,” Hosier said. “We did an excellent job of covering each other and continued to do that every play.”

In the third set, Forestville climbed back to tie the game at 10 with multiple long rallies, before the Panthers went on a run and closed out the match. Strong hitting by the big forwards from the Panthers made it difficult for the Hornets.

“Panama is a quality team that is on a different level,” Ortolano stated. “We served great and our passing (went) fairly well. Most of the team played on the JV level last year and they stood up to the challenge. Rhianna Nasal, who played varsity last year, did a good job of leading this team in the right direction.”

Maddie Johnson led the Panthers with 27 assists.

“Maddie has been the libero for three years and played the weakside,” Hosier added. “She did a good job to get to many of those balls and had quality passes to her teammates, which allowed us to take a more offensive approach.”

Schnars had nine kills while Bowen and Natalie Angeletti each contributed eight. Angeletti also recorded seven digs and four aces.

The Kingsfield sisters led the Hornets in many ways.

“The sisters give 100 percent, all of the time,” Ortolano said. “Their effort is always noticeable and has existed since the first day of practice.”

Winnie Kingsfield tallied three aces with four blocks. Clare Kingsfield added five kills and three digs while Nasal contributed with 10 assists and three kills.

“We played a tough opponent today and did well with the challenge,” said Hosier. “We put together a complete game and we will need to play that way in a competitive league that we have.”

Panama’s next challenge is Tuesday at Chautauqua Lake while Forestville opens up its league schedule against North Collins.

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