Pelham earns regular-season area title with win against Helena

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

PELHAM – It didn’t come without its share of early challenges, but the Pelham Panthers locked up hosting rights for the area tournament on Tuesday, Sept. 28 against rival Helena.

After dropping the opening set, the Panthers bounced back with three consecutive set victories in a row to pick up a 3-1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-18, 25-12) victory.

With the win, Pelham improved to 5-0 in area play with one area matchup left, while every other team in the area has at least two losses. That gives the Panthers the regular-season area title and the right to host this year’s area tournament.

During the win against the Huskies, Pelham started out slow, while Helena continued to show its improvement with a young roster.

The Huskies came out in the opening set ready to battle. Pelham took the lead late at 21-19, but the Huskies battled back with a strong stretch to gain a 24-23 lead.

The Panthers fought off one set point to even the score at 24-24, but they couldn’t do it a second time. After the Huskies regained the lead, they capitalized by putting the set away on the next point for a 26-24 lead.

That put Pelham in a hole quickly, but it seemed to spark a new effort the rest of the way.

With a strong start to the second set, the Panthers took a 12-7 lead out of the gate and eventually extended it to seven points at 16-9.

Helena, however, battled back to even the set at 21-21, coming within striking distance of a 2-0 lead.

Pelham leader Elizabeth Hayhurst put together three late kills to help the Panthers end the set on a 4-0 run to pick up a 25-21 win.

That evened the score at 1-1 and completely shifted the momentum into Pelham’s favor.

The trend continued into the third set, as Helena battled for a while, eventually taking a one-point lead early. But Pelham bounced back to grab the lead at 13-12 and never looked back en route to winning the set 25-18 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

That win seemed to be the final push in getting Pelham over the hump in the match.

The Panthers took advantage of the two consecutive set wins by taking early control in the fourth set with a 15-9 lead. They went on to pull away in the most dominant set of the night, winning 10 of the next 13 points to finish off a 25-12 win to pick up the 3-1 match victory.

Pelham was led by Courtney Proffit and Hayhurst. Proffit totaled 23 kills in the win, while Hayhurst was just behind with 19 kills. Camryn McMinn also came close to double-digit kills with nine in the win.

McMinn also had a strong night at the service line, leading the team with three kills. Tammy Melendez and Carrington Mills both had impressive nights as well with 18 and 14 digs, respectively.

Shay Walsh was another key contributor thanks to 53 assists.

For Helena, Addison Dockery led the way with 16 kills and 12 digs, while Kylie Scoles totaled 28 assists and 11 digs. Addison Hines and Kayla Terrell combined for 10 blocks, while Allie Graydon had 20 digs.