Alyssa Hill and the Lady Panthers volleyball team rocked the court at Van Alstyne High School on Tuesday Sept. 5 when Hill earned 8 kills, 6 blocks, 23 digs and 2 aces to assist her team in defeating Princeton.

Liz Purser was a highlight for the team with 5 kills against Princeton, while Lindi Boling led the team in digs with 36. The Van Alstyne High School Volleyball team is picking up the pace with victories in recent competitions against Princeton, Bonham and Pottsboro. The Lady Panthers have earned an overall season record of 13-8 and are aiming to snag a spot in the postseason.

“We definitely need to be in the top three in district,” Head Coach Veronica Valdez said. “Callisburg will win our Bi-District most likely, so whoever gets fourth in our district is going to have a tough match against them.” All speculation aside, Van Alstyne will need to win some significant upcoming matches in order to pursue titles after the regular season.

“Right now our most important matches will be against Commerce and Leonard,” Valdez said.

After a rough start to the season, the Lady Panthers have kicked it into high gear in recent weeks and have found the success that comes with finding a good rhythm on the court for the whole team.

“I usually just have to remind them to adjust the tempo of the game,” Valdez said. “When we struggle it’s usually because we are letting the other team control the tempo of the game.”

Valdez enjoys seeing the Lady Panthers maximize their strong points on the court.

“We have such good passers that if we focus on it, we can control how fast or slow our offense runs in transition situations.” Valdez said.

The final scores for the four-set game against Princeton were 25-12, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20.

The Lady Panthers also won against Pottsboro on the road against the Cardinals on Sept. 1 with scores of 25-22, 25-13 and 25-21. While the team is getting the most out of the uptick, there is still work to be done in order to compete on the higher postseason levels.

“I would like to see us start running some of the more complex plays that we’ve worked on in practice during matches,” Valdez said, adding that Sydney Ingram is another Lady Panther who has shown significant improvement since the start of the season.

“We did a much better job in serve receive passing than we had been in the past few games,” Valdez said. “I would still like us to try some more complex offense. We’ve been working hard on it in practice, and the girls saw a little bit of success with it last night, so hopefully we can translate even more of that into the upcoming matches.”

The Lady Panthers will try to keep the fire burning as they work to continue their current hot streak with two more home games.The varsity team will begin district play this Friday at 4:30 p.m. against Lone Oak at VAHS, followed by another home game against Commerce on Tuesday Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.