Pelham continues hot start

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

ALEXANDER CITY – The Pelham volleyball team got off to a nice 7-1 start to the 2017 season and have continued that success over the last five games, going 4-1 in that span, with its most recent statement being a sweep of Auburn and Benjamin Russell in a tri-match on Thursday, Sept. 15, at Benjamin Russell High School.

Coming into those two matches, the Panthers had taken down John Carroll on the road 3-0 before traveling to Ramsay High School for a tri-match with Ramsay and Walker on Thursday, Sept. 7.

Pelham fell to Walker 2-0 after losing set one 25-23 and set two 25-19. The Panthers were able to rebound and take down Ramsay, however, to end the tri-match.

PHS took down the Rams 2-0 behind sets of 25-21 and 25-23, giving the Panthers a 9-2 record heading into their second consecutive tri-match in a week.

In Pelham’s first matchup with 7A Auburn, the Panthers came out fresh after having a week of rest and dominated from the start picking up a 25-6 win in set one.

The second set was much closer, but Pelham was able to sneak by Auburn in two straight sets thanks to a thrilling 25-23 win in set two. It marked Pelham’s 10th straight-set victory in 11 wins this season.

The Panthers looked to make that 11-for-12 when they took on Benjamin Russell in match two of the tri-match, and started off solidly. In set one, Pelham was able to build a lead and never lost it, going on to win 25-17 to take a 1-0 lead.

It seemed as if the Panthers’ confidence continued to build throughout the tournament, especially in their matchup with Benjamin Russell, and it showed off in the second set against the Wildcats.

Pelham had its second most dominant set of the tri-match by beating Benjamin Russell 23-13 to pick up another straight-set victory on the season.

Now at 11-2, the Panthers are one of the hottest teams in the state to start the season and play in a region with two of the other hottest teams in Helena and Chelsea.

Erin Long led the Panthers in the tri-match with 12 kills, while Emorie Long had eight. Georgia Stonicher, Ashley Anderson, Emorie Long and Josie Hester had three aces apiece between the two matches to lead the way.

Grace Nolen led the way with 11 digs, while Jamila Wilson, Guthrie and Stonicher each added five for a balanced attack.