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Panther’s perseverance: Wells, Jemison succeed with hard work, despite injury

It wasn’t a storybook season for Kasi Wells but a memorable one nonetheless.

Wells missed three matches during the regular season with stress reactions in her shins, and Jemison’s season ended with a sub-state playoff round loss (at home, no less) with Wells playing at only about 75 percent.

But the junior setter—and The Clanton Advertiser’s Volleyball Player of the Year—kept plugging, something coach Leighsa Robinson would expect nothing less of from the most crucial component of a team Robinson said set itself apart with hard work.

“I really felt like this year our team worked harder than any team I’ve coached,” Robinson said. “They set a standard.”

And the Panthers won 34 matches, more than any other Robinson-coached team has won.

“This year was different than last year just in how hard we worked and how bad we wanted it,” Wells said. “And we were close this year.”

Robinson raved about a team that would beat her to practice and stay afterward for extra work, but the setter, which Robinson described as quarterback of a team, became limited in how much she could do.

Wells’ shin problems began in September. She would be held out of matches (“It was torture trying to sit there,” she said) and practices and wear a protective boot for two months. Even now, Wells has a stretching routine she must perform, pads she must wear in all her shoes and a support sleeve to wear over her legs during practice.

Robinson credits Wells’ teammates for being good passers because the setter couldn’t run as far for balls because of the pain.

Wells was still able to record 415 assists—and that wasn’t all. Showing her ability as an all-around player, Wells also had 111 kills, 83 aces, 45 digs and 35 blocks.

Wells was named the Most Valuable Player of five tournaments.

“A lot of Kasi’s success is her hard work and the fact that she had good teammates,” Robinson said. “She’s good for our program and good for our team.

“I’m glad I have her for one more year.”