Revenge-minded Panthers sweep Isabella
By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser
With this year’s County Volleyball Tournament set for Saturday, those in attendance at Alton Cobb Gymnasium on Thursday night got what many believe may have been a preview of the tournament’s championship game.
Isabella squeaked by Jemison with a 3-2 win in their first meeting of the season, but this meeting went the way of the Panthers from start to finish as Jemison swept the Mustangs, 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-15).
The Panthers jumped out to an early lead in Set 1 as Leslie Hague led a six-point run, and thanks to two kills by Cassani Steele, Jemison took an early 7-1 lead.
Hailey Underwood led a three-point run for the Mustangs, and another run led by Jayda Jones knotted the game at 9-all. A kill by Taylor Ray put the lead back in the Panthers’ favor by one.
With the game at 13-12 Panthers, a six-point run led by Emily Spain blew the set open at 19-12 in favor of Jemison.
The Mustangs closed the gap slightly late in the set, but with the score at 24-20, a Ray kill brought the set to a close.
The Mustangs again fell into an early hole to start the second set, as Spain led an early 3-0 run to give the Panthers 4-1 lead, but Kasey Grimes led the Mustangs back to make the score 4-3 before a kill by Steele gave serving duties back to the Panthers.
Two aces by Sophia Underwood aided in a four-point run by the Mustangs to give Isabella their first lead of the set at 12-10.
The lead wouldn’t last long as the Panthers tied the game again at 12-all, but a three-point run led by the serving of Brianna Tyler gave the Mustangs the lead back at 15-12.
The Panthers handed serving duties over to Hague, and thanks to an ace and two kills by Steele, Jemison took the lead once again at 19-17.
The lead flipped again with Jones serving for the Mustangs as Isabella took a 20-19 lead.
The two teams played to a 22-all tie before a Panther point and a kill by Ray brought the set to game point.
A serve out of bounds by the Mustangs gave Jemison a 25-23 win in Set 2.
Spain led the Panthers on a 3-0 run to start the third set, and a four-point run lead by Kelsey Lowery gave Jemison a 9-2 lead.
The Mustangs battled back to pull to within four points of the lead at 14-10, but the Panthers pulled away down the stretch to take a 25-15 set win to close out the match.
Steele led the Panthers with 14 kills and four blocks, while Ray added 12 kills.
Underwood led the Mustangs with seven assists, three kills, three digs and one ace. MaKaela Littleton added 11 kills, four digs and four assists for Isabella.
This year’s County Volleyball Tournament will get underway at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Isabella High School gymnasium.