Pelham sweeps Briarwood to remain perfect in area play

Published 8:18 am Wednesday, September 27, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The No. 7 Pelham Panthers went on the road on Tuesday, Sept. 26 and walked away with a straight-set area victory against in-county foe Briarwood to remain perfect in area play.

The Panthers were able to win a tightly-contested first set that set the tone for a 3-0 (29-27, 25-20, 25-18) victory that brought them within one win of locking up the regular-season area championship and hosting rights for the area tournament.

In the opening set, Pelham fell behind 1-0 and 2-1, but followed that with a 4-0 run that gave the Panthers their first lead of the night with some separation at 5-2.

Briarwood, however, came out firing and responded with a 5-0 run that pushed the Lions back in front 7-5 and forced a Pelham timeout.

With the timeout, the Panthers were able to shift focus. Despite Briarwood holding the lead at 9-7, Pelham put together a 5-0 run of its own to take a 12-9 advantage.

From there, the remainder of the first set was a back-and-forth battle. Briarwood came back to even the score 12-12 and the two then traded blows with neither leading by more than two points the rest of the opening set.

Pelham eventually gained set point at 24-23 but a kill attempt sailed just wide of the line to even the score once more.

The Panthers had set points again at 25-24, 26-25 and 27-26.

But it was Londyn Wynn who ultimately made the difference in putting the set away. In a 27-27 tie, she had a kill and block on back-to-back points that helped put away a 29-27 win following a hard-fought set.

With the 1-0 win, Pelham was able to play with confidence in the second set and jumped out to an early 9-5 lead.

Briarwood still had some fight left, however, going on a 10-5 run at one point to take a 15-14 lead in the set.

But the Panthers responded with a 7-2 run to take a 21-17 advantage that ultimately created too much separation for the Lions to pull off the comeback as Pelham picked up a 25-20 win in the second set.

The third set was tightly contested in the early portion of the set, but Pelham eventually started to pull away with a 16-8 lead that gave the Panthers enough cushion with a comfortable 2-0 match lead to pull away for a 25-18 win in the third set.

With that, Pelham improved to 14-8 overall on the season and 4-0 in area play.

Briarwood is now 1-2 in area play and 18-12 overall.