The volleyball season ended for the Lady Panthers this past week at the sectional tournament held at Sissonville. The Lady Panthers had high hopes of returning to the big dance at the state competition. They had the talent, they had momentum, but it was not to be. The Lady Panthers had no problem getting past the first round with a win against the Lady Dots of Poca. In the second round the Lady Panthers met the Lady Grizzlies of Nicholas County. The game progressed well, but it was obvious that the Lady Grizzlies came to win, something they had not achieved against the Lady Panthers for quite some time. With the set all tied up at two games apiece, it went into the final game, and all bets were off. Both teams hammered the ball, but it was the Lady Grizzlies that came out on top. It was disappointing to say the least, but both teams left all they had on the court.
The Lady Panthers had a chore to accomplish now because with the Lady Grizzlies defeating Hoover, it meant that the Lady Panthers would have to play them in the second round. They had to beat Hoover to advance in the tournament and get a chance to go to the regional competition. The atmosphere was electric as the Clay fans and the Hoover fans were settling down to some lung busting cheering. There is no love lost between these two teams that have a long standing rivalry. The first game went without a hitch; the Lady Panthers played like a well oiled machine and made little to no mistakes. The Lady Huskies knew it wouldn’t be an easy task. The second game went to the Lady Huskies. The third game went back to the Lady Panthers making the set 2-1 Lady Panthers. It was then that things seemed to change – problems with the scoreboard and calls going against the Lady Panthers that didn’t seem warranted. This seemed to shake the Lady Panthers, and they started making critical mistakes that led to the fourth game going to the Lady Huskies.
It once again went into a nail biter for sure as both teams squared off in the last game. It was blatantly obvious that it would be a war for 15 points. The Lady Huskies jumped out to a 1-4 lead, but the Lady Panthers, now playing catch up ball, were firing on all cylinders. With the game at 12 -13 and a win on the line, a long volley took place. The Lady Panthers drove the ball into the faces of the Lady Huskies time and time again with the Clay fans calling foul against the Lady Huskies for carrying the ball, a foul that would have given the ball and point to the Lady Panthers. Unfortunately and some might say unjustly, carrying was not called by the referees, and a stunned Lady Panther team went down in defeat. It was definitely a tough loss considering that if instant replay was admissible in high school sports, the game may have went a different way. It was a great season though, and the Lady Panthers can hold their heads up and move on to next season. I am sure it will be a good one. Congratulations Lady Panthers.