Pelham picks up three wins at Mayor’s Cup

Published 5:25 pm Monday, September 11, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY – The Pelham Panthers continued their strong start to the season with three wins at the Mayor’s Cup at the Cramton Bowl Complex in Montgomery on Sept. 8-9.

Overall, the Panthers went 3-2 in the tournament and made a run through the knockout bracket.

Pelham’s tournament started in pool play with a match against Carver Montgomery on Friday, Sept. 8. The Panthers were able to edge out a lead in the first set and carried it out to the end.

Pelham secured a 25-18 opening set win, and they used that momentum from the first set to win the second set by an even greater margin, taking it 25-13 en route to sweeping the match.

Caley Peterson led Pelham in kills with eight. The Panthers were strong on the service line thanks to four aces from Kendall Washington and three from Brenna Vickery.

Kylee Hester earned 19 assists, and over on defense, Londyn Wynn had four digs and Caroline Hamby and Camryn McMinn each had three.

The next morning, Pelham opened their Saturday with a match against Spanish Fort. The Panthers grabbed the opening set with a 25-21 win, but in the second set, the Toros flipped the result and won the set 25-21 to tie up the match.

With both teams needing a win in the third set to take the match, it was Spanish Fort that rose to the challenge and took the final set, 15-9.

McMinn and Wynn tied for the kill lead with eight kills each, and Hester earned 22 assists in the match.

Hester also was solid defensively for the Panthers as she earned ten digs, and Wynn earned eight as well. Juliana Bites won a pair of aces, and Hester and Jojo Miller each had two total blocks.

Pelham bounced back in their final game of pool play against Saint James as they started the match strong with a 25-17 first set win.

In the second set, the Panthers held strong even as the Trojans put up a solid fight. Pelham still secured a 25-22 win to take the match in straight sets and close out pool play with a 2-1 record.

McMinn tied for the game high with nine kills, and Wynn was close behind her with seven kills. McMinn also earned a pair of aces.

Hester earned 23 assists, five digs and two total blocks in the two sets. Wynn and McMinn both had six digs to lead the Panthers.

Pelham opened knockout play against Brewbaker Tech, and the Panthers cruised to victory in the match. The Panthers opened strong with a 25-12 first set win, and they went on to take the second set by an even greater margin, closing out the match with a 25-11 win.

McMinn eclipsed the ten-kill mark for the first time in the tournament against Brewbaker Tech. Bitas and Wynn each had a pair of aces, and Wynn tacked on five kills as well.

Hester had her best match of the tournament with 24 assists, and she, Miller and McMinn each had two total blocks. Kamryn Rouverol led the Panthers in digs with six.

Pelham moved on in the knockout to take on Montgomery Academy. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they did not get off to a good start in the first set as they lost to the Eagles, 25-15.

Needing a set win to keep them alive in the tournament, Pelham was unable to make up any ground in the second set and exited the Mayor’s Cup thanks to a 25-12 second set loss.

Miller led the kill count with seven, and Hester had 18 assists. McMinn had five kills, seven digs and a pair of blocks, and Caroline Hamby earned four digs.

Despite the loss, Pelham still picked up some wins over solid teams and can likely be expected to rise in the rankings next week as a result.

The Panthers will now embark on their journey through area play as they kick off a key part of their schedule with a home match against Briarwood on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.