Pelham downs Calera to finish area play 5-1

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

CALERA – Pelham closed out area play on Tuesday, Oct. 9, and in strong fashion as the Panthers picked up a season sweep of the Calera Eagles in a 3-1 victory to complete area play with a 5-1 record.

With that record, Pelham tied for the top spot in the standings with the Chelsea Hornets, but the tiebreaker did go Chelsea’s way as the Hornets will host the 2019 area tournament in two weeks.

The only difference between the two matches between Chelsea and Pelham was the ability of the Hornets to sweep the Panthers, while Pelham dropped one set in its 3-1 win over Chelsea a few weeks ago.

Nonetheless, both swept the other opponents in the area, Calera and Helena, and look to be in good shape when it comes to finding a playoff spot, which goes to the top two finishers in the area tournament.

As far as Pelham’s match with Calera, the Panthers entered having swept the Eagles just two weeks earlier and had that confidence, but got off to a slow start.

Calera was able to come out and pick up a first-set victory behind strong play that eventually saw the Eagles close out match point for a 25-22 win.

That quickly woke the Panthers up.

The rest of the match, Pelham didn’t allow Calera to score in the 20s, holding them to 18 or less to win the final three sets in a row.

Following the disappointing opening set, the Panthers bounced back in the second and controlled play for the most part to pick up a 25-18 win in the set to even the match at 1-1.

Pelham still wasn’t playing as good as it wanted to, but nonetheless the Panthers had swung momentum into their favor and it showed in the third set.

They came out with a purpose in the set and had their most dominant showing of the night with a 25-14 victory to take their first lead in the match at 2-1.

With a chance to close it out, Pelham continued pushing in the fourth set and never left any doubt on its way to a 25-16 set victory to complete the comeback effort of three consecutive set wins for the 3-1 win.