Panthers drop opener against St. Paul’s

Pelham High School senior Sydney Days and junior Bradleigh Smith, from left, attempt to block an attack by St. Paul's in the Panthers' loss to the Saints on opening day Aug. 18. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Pelham High School volleyball coach Haven O’Quinn wanted her Panthers to be tested in their season opener.

O’Quinn’s wish came true in Pelham’s season opener against St. Paul’s, the defending Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 5A champions.

The Panthers dropped the first match of the season 21-25, 19-25, 25-17, 25-13 to the Saints from Mobile.

Despite the loss, O’Quinn said she found a few positives in the opening match.

“There were a lot of things that we did really well,” O’Quinn said. “I can find lots of positives in the first three games. We weren’t competing in that fourth one.”

Dana Allen led Pelham (0-1) with 10 kills in the season opener.

Sydney Days finished with four blocks and a team-high 16 assists. Haeden Tucker recorded seven digs. Porsha Tolbert finished with three service aces.

The Panthers dropped the first two games before rallying for a 25-17 win in the third game. However, the momentum gained in the third game was quickly lost in the fourth game as St. Paul’s clinched the match.

O’Quinn said she learned a lot about her team in the first match of the season.

“My girls are real versatile,” O’Quinn said. “St. Paul’s is a solid team. I would rather take a shot at them than have a gimmie.”