DANBURY — A couple of key cogs on the Danbury Lady Panthers volleyball squad, Brenna Stout and Miranda Peltier, are helping the team come into its own this season.
It already has been a tough year for the Lady Panthers as most of their nondistrict matches have come against larger classification schools. On the other hand, playing stiff competition has helped Danbury learn quickly what it takes to succeed on the court.
“It has been an exhausting, that is for sure, but it helps a lot because we are getting our endurance up, and playing those kinds of teams has just helped,” Peltier said. “We know we are facing stronger teams but it is preparing us for district.”
Playing in the Palacios and Dickinson Tournaments had the Class 2A Lady Panthers facing programs from Class 4A to 6A.
“We started out slow but have started to get better because we are working as a team,” senior libero Stout said. “I think we are still coming together but we are getting there. We had a meeting on the second week of the season, and it was the upper classmen who tried to lead by example and find out what the issues were with the team.”
Coming together on the court has been one of the issues so far.
“So now we are meeting in the middle after every point whether we win it or lose it to make sure we stick together as a team,” Peltier said. “We are just encouraging ourselves to go get the next point and make sure and win it.”
In her second season, Peltier, a junior, is the setter on the squad.
“Last year I was a little rough — wasn’t that great, but my confidence level has improved a lot better because I am an upper classman and have more experience with some of these hitters,” she said.
One of those Peltier is trying set up as much as possible is senior Rita Marques.
“I know this is her sport so I am trying to make it a great season for her and all of the seniors, and for myself as well,” Peltier said.
Head coach Miranda Flowers understands what she has with Stout and Peltier when it comes to playing the game.
“Brenna is a quiet leader. She is always a presence on the court, everyone knows they can count on her,” Flowers said. “She is not the loud one who gets your attention, but is the steady player in my back row. Miranda has just blossomed where she needs to be and is just getting more touches on the ball. She is working hard every day to get where we need to. She is working hard to get Rita (Marques) the ball as much as she can.”
A good example of how the team is coming together happened this weekend when the Lady Panthers beat Columbia at the Tidehaven Tournament. They avenged a loss from earlier in the week, a game which they thought they should have won.
“We were very determined to beat them because we thought we were close in the earlier loss during the week,” Peltier said. “This time we all decided it wasn’t going to happen again. We knew we had to come out strong and get away from those little mistakes and finish strong. Most of the time that is our problem, we don’t come out strong and we come out timid making mistakes.”
A national honor society member and ranked No. 12 in her class, Stout knows it does sometimes take awhile for a team to bond.
“I think there was nerves because we had younger people and we were not playing as a team, because we were trying to do everything by ourselves,” Stout said. “With the younger girls, I know it is a lack of confidence in their game, but it is something that is coming along.”
Both Stout and Peltier also play on the softball team and are members of the track and field program at Danbury High School.
The Lady Panthers will continue playing tough competiton as they head to the Santa Fe Tournament this weekend.