Panthers, Rebels strong out of the gates
By Stephen Dawkins
Jemison’s and Thorsby’s volleyball teams are off to fast starts.
The Rebels, in fact, compiled almost one-third of their win total from last season in one day, on Aug. 20 at Sylacauga. The Rebels defeated Childersburg, 25-13, 25-12 and Sylacauga, 25-22, 25-21 in their first two matches of the season.
Brittany Maddox led Thorsby with 11 kills in two matches and also had six aces in the first match. Holly Smith contributed nine assists and had four aces in the second match.
Thorsby won seven matches last season.
The Jemison volleyball team couldn’t play its scheduled season opener at Holt on Aug. 20 because no game officials were present.
So, Jemison coach Leighsa Robinson put her team through a practice on the opponents’ floor.
“It cost $168 just in fuel for the bus to get over there,” Robinson said. “And we have a tournament Saturday that we didn’t get to prepare for.”
That didn’t turn out to be a problem, though, as the Panthers won two matches in the tournament and were competitive in three more.
Jemison lost to St. James, 25-20, 21-25, 15-6; defeated Prattville 8-25, 25-18, 25-14; defeated Brewbaker Tech 25-16, 25-23; lost to host Trinity, 25-16, 25-15; and lost to UMS-Wright, 25-10, 25-12.
“Our defense was outstanding, and our serve receive was consistent,” coach Leighsa Robinson said. “We had a lot of scrappy plays off balls and that sort of thing.
“Four out of the five teams in our pool made it to regionals last year. St. James went to the Elite 8 last year, and we went three games with them. Now, our girls know that we can beat them.
“It showed us what our strengths are and what are weaknesses are, and that’s why we play tournaments.”
Dallis Vanderslice had five digs and Alex Reeves had four in the St. James match. Emily Smithey had seven digs and Tabatha Cork had five in the Prattville match. Smithey had seven more digs in the Trinity match.
Codi Mims had four blocks, and Cork had seven aces in the Brew Tech match.
The Thorsby junior varsity team fell to Sylacauga, 25-10, 25-21, 25-13, but the middle school team defeated the hosts, 18-25, 25-18, 15-10.
Diana Prado paced the middle school team with seven aces and two assists.
Both Jemison and Thorsby will participate in the Calera Tournament on Aug. 29.