Pelham volleyball wins Boddie tournament silver bracket championship

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

PELHAM – The Pelham Panthers faced some early-season adversity on Saturday, Aug. 21, but they responded in a big way.

Taking on some of the best teams in the state at the Juanita Boddie tournament hosted by Hoover High School, the Panthers opened with wins against Wetumpka and LAMP on Friday night, and looked impressive in doing so.

In the first matchup against Wetumpka, Pelham took down the Indians in straight sets with wins of 25-13 and 25-8 to kick off the pool-play portion of the tournament.

That was followed by a 2-0 win against LAMP with set victories of 25-18 and 25-14 to improve to 2-0 in the tournament and for the season.

Courtney Proffitt and Elizabeth Hayhurst got off to strong starts for the Panthers in the win, with Proffitt totaling 13 kills and Hayhurst 12 kills through the first two matches.

Pelham also totaled 30 aces in those matches, which played a key role in the wins.

That, however, led to the team’s first adversity of the season.

The Panthers fell just short against a talented Bob Jones team, losing 25-23 and 28-26 in straight sets before then losing to Briarchrest Christian 25-21 and 25-22 in straight sets.

After a promising start to the season and the tournament, Pelham ended pool play of the silver bracket with two difficult losses.

The Panthers, however, handled the adversity well.

Needing four wins to claim the championship, Pelham set in for an exhausting day and didn’t disappoint.

The Panthers took down Cherokee Bluff from Flowery Branch, Georgia in straight sets in their first matchup following the back-to-back losses.

They took down the Bears 25-19 in both sets to get back on track with a sweep.

Pelham then faced county-rival Oak Mountain in the quarterfinals and squeaked out a tight two-point opening set to gain the early momentum. After the 27-25 win, the Panthers went on to win the second set 25-16 to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.

Taking on Guntersville, the Panthers put together one of their most dominant matches of the tournament with set victories of 25-15 and 25-11 to complete a third-consecutive sweep and earn a spot in the championship match.

In the winner-take-all matchup, Pelham faced Gulf Shores and once again put together a straight-set victory. The Panthers won 25-21 and 25-19 to win their fourth in a row and bounce back from the two losses earlier in the day.

In the championship match, Hayhurst totaled 11 kills to lead Pelham, while Proffitt added eight kills. The aces went down for the team in the match with Jaden Jones totaling two of the three kills. Shay Walsh also had a big championship performance with 20 assists.

Walsh ended the tournament with a strong mark of 156 kills, while Hayhurst totaled 65 kills. Proffitt also had a strong tournament thanks to her 59 kills.