Greencastle head coach Trish Lowe said stagnant feet poised a big problem for her team on Thursday.
"I think that we're not very good at reading what our opponent is doing and I think we get our feet set and we don't move to the ball," Lowe said. "The one asset our team truly has is we have some quickness. There are some girls that are quick and instead of moving our feet and getting quick to the ball, they plant their feet and reach. It's not like we haven't preached that for the last month."
Greencastle came out strong in the first set, battling with the Panthers point for point. GHS sophomore Quinci Miller made her presence known at the net, blocking multiple Riverton Parke kill attempts and causing the Panthers to alter their attack.
The Tiger Cubs pulled ahead 20-17 on a Miller kill, but the Panthers tied the set at 21-all on a Sara Dickey kill. The game was tied once more at 23-all before Riverton Parke scored the set's final two points to win 25-23.
In set two, Riverton Parke raced out to a 10-3 lead before Greencastle starting chipping away at the lead. Greencastle rallied back to knot the match up at 18-all and again at 20-all.
A four point run by Riverton Parke, powered by an ace from Paige Yando and a big kill by Rachel Austin moved the Panthers in front for good.
Greencastle's Alex Basile hit a nicely placed shot to the open floor, followed by a kill from Jessica Lenihan to pull Greencastle within two points at 24-22. A kill from Riverton Parke's Dickey ended the set.
Going into the third set down 2-0, Greencastle watched as Riverton Parke ran out to a quick 9-2 lead. But as they had the previous two sets, Greencastle dug in and rallied back to tied the match at 19-all. They then went up 21-19 on a Shelby Earl kill.
After Riverton Parke went up 24-22, Greencastle was awarded a point after a long Panthers serve. The next Tiger Cubs' point came after a long rally between the two team before Greencastle's Rayleigh Amis rose and delivered a kill to tie the set at 24-all.
The final two points of the set were gained by the Panthers to win the match 3-0.
Although Greencastle had a solid showing against the Panthers, Lowe didn't think her team played as a unit and let the Panthers take it out of its game.
"I think we let stuff get in our heads," Lowe said. "We didn't play as a team. I felt like some kids had a great game and then all of a sudden they just stopped doing their job. That's probably one of Quinci Miller's best matches, especially in game one.
"She was on fire at the net. She was block; she was hitting, she was doing her job, but then, I don't know if she took herself out or what it was. The other team was pretty smart and did a lot of tips and pull shots and we weren't smart enough to figure that out."
Greencastle will face Owen Valley to open it sectional play next Thursday. Lowe said her team's success would depend on its ability to play together.
"I hope to see better stuff than I saw today," Lowe said. "I think they're really improved since I started watching them, but they've got to believe in themselves and trust in themselves, trust their teammates. Without trusting them, each other and me, it isn't going to do any good.
"There's a trust factor and a believe in your own physical skills factor."
Before the match began, Greencastle recognized seniors Rayleigh Amis, Ellen Gobert, Jessi Covert and manager Taylor Downing.
Riverton Parke 25 25 26
Greencastle 23 22 24