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Panthers not themselves in loss

A veteran Jemison volleyball team that had been so consistent all season suddenly couldn’t hit the ball in.

The Panthers fell to visiting Andalusia 3-1 (25-20, 22-25, 25-8, 25-18) on Thursday in the sub-state round of the playoffs—one round from the Elite Eight event that is the preseason goal of recognized programs around the state.

“When you get to this level, you’ve got to play more consistent,” Jemison coach Leighsa Robinson said. “We made too many errors back-to-back and didn’t correct ourselves.

“Our girls have played hard all year, we just didn’t come through today.”

The Panthers (34-11) dug themselves a hole in each set: They trailed 6-0 in the first set, 5-1 in the second, 15-1 in the third and 7-0 in the fourth.

Still, the hosts looked to be a match for Andalusia (25-13) as the squads split the first two sets.

But any momentum was squandered as Jemison couldn’t get Andalusia senior Amber Anderson off the service line to begin Set 3. Anderson served for 14 consecutive points.

Anderson was also part of an imposing Bulldogs offensive attack that rained down kills seemingly from the rafters.

Jemison’s defense was solid as always—Emily Smithey and Tanya Liveoak led the effort with 14 digs and 12 digs, respectively—but its offense was too spotty. Jemison recorded 31 kills but made 25 attack errors.

Tabatha Cork recorded 11 kills to go along with four assists. Kasi Wells filled up the stat sheet to the tune of 20 assists, nine digs, four kills and two blocks.

Whitney Childress had five aces.