Pelham sweeps Jasper to continue strong start

Published 2:52 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PELHAM – The Pelham Panthers returned home on Tuesday, Aug. 29 after a run to the knockout stage at the Juanita Boddie Tournament, and they treated their home fans to a dominant sweep over the Jasper Vikings.

The opening points of the match were closely contested, and the two teams found themselves in a 4-4 tie. Pelham grabbed the lead from there and extended it out to 11-6.

They didn’t look back from there, jumping out to a 16-9 lead that was able to withstand a brief Vikings service run that cut the deficit to three points.

Pelham went on a tear in response, going on a 9-1 run to close the set in dominant fashion. The Panthers took the first set, 25-14, and looked to build off of that win in the second set.

They did just that, but not without having to work for their second set victory. The Panthers and Vikings were in an early deadlock which had both teams tied at eight.

Afterwards, Pelham was able to establish a 15-10 lead, but Jasper kept fighting to make the set close. The Vikings kept pace to keep just a four-point gap, and Pelham led 21-17 going into the closing points of the set.

Jasper battled back from there and the set was tied at 24 going into extra points. The Panthers showed great poise in a high-pressure situation and took both extra points to win the second set, 26-24, and establish a commanding two-set lead over the Vikings.

Pelham was able to finally build an early lead in the third set as they went up 6-3 and kept the lead all the way to the finish. They went up 14-8 before going on a 7-3 run to build a 21-11 lead and put the pressure on the Vikings to make up the deficit.

The Panthers closed out the job in the final points, winning four of the last six points to take the third set, 25-13, and win the match, 3-0.

With the win in their first best-of-five match of the season, the Panthers improved to 4-4 on the year. Pelham will return to action on Thursday, Aug. 31 against Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa at home with a 6:30 p.m. varsity start.