Pelham falls in sub-state match at Grissom

Pelham High School volleyball coach Kim Kiel knew what to expect as the Panthers traveled to Huntsville for an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A sub-state match Thursday at Grissom.

The Panthers faced tough odds on the home court of one of the state’s top high school volleyball programs.

A magical season came to an end as the Panthers (42-5) were swept 25-21, 25-23, 30-28 in a hard-fought match at Grissom. Pelham will miss the Elite Eight at the Pelham Civic Complex for the first time since 2005.

Ally Slaughter led Pelham with 20 kills. Slaughter also had 15 digs and two blocks. Lindsey Young had a team-high 32 assists to go with three kills and three blocks. Toni Wellborn added 10 kills and six digs.

Shalita Clark had seven kills. Brittany Jack finished with 17 digs and four service aces.

After dropping the first two sets, Pelham rallied in the third set. There were eight ties and eight lead changes late in the set before the Panthers fell 30-28.

“We gave 100 percent effort and we played great,” Kiel said. “Grissom just outplayed us.”

Kiel said Pelham faced an intimidating crowd in Huntsville in the sub-state loss.

“It was almost kind of a like a state-tournament atmosphere,” Kiel said. “We knew it wouldn’t be easy. Grissom has a great volleyball team and a strong tradition.”