Two weeks into the fall semester with a new head coach, the Lady Panthers volleyball team has had a tough beginning to the season. The first victory of the season improves a record of 5-7 after losing the first six consecutive games.
This past weekend the Lady Panthers traveled to Albany, Georgia to compete in the annual SIAC Divisional Crossover Tournament to get their first win of the season. The Lady Panthers quickly rose up in the rankings to become tied for leader of the SIAC East as they won 3 games at the tournament.
It took some time for this team to connect and form a chemistry together. freshman walk-on Imani Baker said, “When we were losing I think we were still new to each other and playing as individuals.” Slowly but surely all the practices and conditioning started to work. “It felt like all of our hard work had finally paid off,” Baker said.
The team played a total of seven games competing against teams such as Central State University, LeMoyne-Owen College, Lane College, Tuskegee University, Spring Hill College, Kentucky State University, and Miles College.
Thursday turned out to be the team’s lucky day of the tournament as they got the first W of the season and went on a three-game winning streak.
Central State was the first victim to fall to the Lady Panthers to a score of 3 to 1. The Lady Panthers and Lady Marauders tied the first two sets but overcame Central State with the help from sophomore Kia Thomas and senior Brittany Warren-Dancy.
The second game the Clark Atlanta shut out LeMoyne-Owen College by a score of 3-0. Sophomore Kia Thomas and junior Ashley Elmore were the dynamic duo in this game as the contributors getting 16 and 15 kills each.
The final win of the tournament was against Lane College with a final score of 3-1. The Lady Panthers won the first two sets and then won the fourth to finish the game out. Senior Sierra Nelson filled out the stat line as she finished the game with 47 assists, ten digs, and an ace.
After the tournament, the team improved to a 5-7 record overall and a 5-3 record in the SIAC. Winning 5 games in the tough SIAC gives the team a huge morale boost. The more they practice everyday working on their craft is finally presenting itself in W’s for the team.
Senior Sierra Nelson is this the backbone of the team as she continues to play the hardest she can night after night for her team. Her stats back up her hard work and dedication as she already has a total of 333 assists in just 12 games.
Receiving a head coach just two weeks into the school year, both head Coach Valerie Jones and her players had to quickly adjust to each other. Players such as junior Ashley Elmore and senior Brittany Warren-Dacy have stepped up and shown out this year, setting the example.