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Panthers, Rebels fall in sub-state round

By Stephen Dawkins

JEMISON – Both Jemison’s and Thorsby’s volleyball programs were knocked out of the sub-state round of the playoffs last week, but that was about the only similarity.
Jemison was a veteran team playing and home and expecting to advance to the Elite Eight state tournament this week at the Pelham Civic Complex. Thorsby, meanwhile, had never before made it so far in the playoffs and was playing at Leroy.
The Panthers fell to visiting Andalusia 3-1 (25-20, 22-25, 25-8, 25-18) on Oct. 22.
“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.
The Rebels, unfortunately, played like a team in unfamiliar territory—both the gymnasium and the place in history.
Thorsby fell at Leroy, 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-20).
“We played nervous, being our first time there,” coach Ginger Williams said. “We’re extremely proud of them, anyway. This team has really done a lot.”
Thorsby was put on the defensive most of the night, so there were plenty of digs to be had. Brittany Maddox had 12, Desiree Evans had 10 and Holly Smith had 8.
Maddox also had four kills.
THS finished the season with a 20-20 record.