Chelsea takes hard-fought win over county foe Pelham

Published 2:52 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

CHELSEA – The Chelsea Hornets and Pelham Panthers battled it out on Tuesday, Sept. 5 to see who would earn a big win over their county foe in the build-up to area play.

In the end, Chelsea came out of the showdown with a 3-1 match win, but not before going down to the wire with Pelham.

Chelsea took control in the first set and carried on their momentum to close out the set on top. The Hornets won the first set, 25-16, to go up 1-0 in the match and establish an early lead.

Pelham immediately responded in the second frame and showed the Hornets that they would be in for a fight. The Panthers established a wide lead and, ultimately, Pelham would win the second set, 25-14, and they would tie the match up at one set win apiece.

In the third set, Chelsea gained the momentum right back by jumping out to a big lead that the Panthers could not overcome. Chelsea went on to take the third set over Pelham with a 25-13 win to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Needing to win one of the final two sets to take the match, Chelsea took the floor in set four ready to close out the match, but Pelham matched their effort and gave the Hornets a fight down the stretch.

The set came down to the final points, but Chelsea had the last word and won the fourth set, 25-22, to earn the 3-1 match win.

Chelsea outside hitter Lauren Buchanan had a big day on offense as she led all players with 20 kills. She also hit for a +.224 hitting percentage, served on four aces, and earned nine digs to close out a well-rounded day on the score sheet.

Cara Belcher turned in a strong day around the floor for the Hornets. The setter earned 19 assists while also recording six digs and taking five kills.

MK Dojonovic was close behind Belcher with 17 assists, and she also earned eight digs on defense. Kaleigh Hall and Alexis Rudolph both had nine kills, Reagan Sartin had nine digs and Haley Trotter led the Hornets with three total blocks.

For Pelham, Camryn McMinn led the Panthers in kills with 12, and she also won two aces. Londyn Wynn won five kills and four aces to finish with a +.214, and Kassadi Jones had an efficient four kills off nine swings for a +.444 hitting percentage.

Kylee Hester topped the assists category for both teams with 24 assists, and she also led the Panthers in digs with 12. Wynn and Kamryn Rouveyrol each had nine digs to finish closely behind Hester.

Jones led both teams with four total blocks, and Wynn and Aubrie Smith each had three to round out a solid defensive day for Pelham.

Next up for the Hornets, they will travel to Oak Mountain on Thursday, Sept 7 for their first area game of the season. Pelham will have a busy day on the same day with a quad match at Homewood High School against Homewood, Ramsay and Tuscaloosa County.