Lady Panthers fall in Elite Eight

Published 9:35 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

BIRMINGHAM – Head coach Perry Robinson and the Pelham volleyball Lady Panthers knew they had their work cut out for them in the first round of the state 6A tournament at the Birmingham Crossplex on Wednesday morning. After finishing third in the South Super Regional, the Lady Panthers were matched up with the No. 2 seed out of the North, which happened to be the Arab Lady Knights.

Arab carried a prodigious 50-3 record into the state tournament, and has widely been regarded as one of the top teams in class 6A all season. Pelham had played Arab once before this year, on Oct. 9 in a tri-match with Mountain Brook. In that matchup, Arab beat Pelham in two sets, 25-15, 25-17. Unfortunately for the Lady Panthers, the second meeting between the two was more of the same, as Arab beat Pelham in straight sets, 25-12, 25-15, 25-13, and the outcome was never really in doubt from the jump.

“We knew what we were getting ourselves into,” Robinson said after the match. “They’re a very good team, they don’t make mistakes. They play volleyball simple, and honestly that’s the best way to play volleyball.”

Pelham finished the season with a 26-30 overall record, but despite the sub-.500 finish, the Lady Panthers made their third consecutive trip to the state tournament, solidifying themselves as one of the top 6A programs in the state.

“I think this was a great season,” Robinson went on to say. “We’re not going to finish .500, but at Pelham we pride ourselves on playing a competitive regular season schedule. We’re in that Birmingham area so we have a lot of good teams right there, and we’re going to play them. That’s what makes us better.”

Pelham will lose five seniors off of the 2015 team in Jordan Allison, Erin Hines, Sarah Sudd, Josie Harwood and Courtney Hayhurst.

“We got some young players that are here that didn’t play, but we’re excited about them,” Robinson said. “As usual we’re going to have our work cut out for us. We’re still excited about what Pelham volleyball stands for. I think we’ll be competitive next year, whether we get back here, who knows.”