VAN ALSTYNE — The Lady Panthers varsity volleyball team swept Whitewright 25-21, 25-20, 25-16 in a district match on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at Van Alstyne’s home gym, locking them in a district third place tie with Leonard prior to the playoffs.


“We worked together and never took any breaks,” first year head coach Veronica Valdez said. “The girls played every point like it was the last, and that really paid off for us in the end.”


Van Alstyne (15-12) has a respectable 7-5 district record, with their upcoming match against Leonard determining if they will secure third or fourth place in the district before the playoffs begin.


“We were able to tweak some defensive strategies in the weeks leading up to this game,” Valdez said. The Lady Panthers played strong to the end against Whitewright in three fast and close-scoring matches.


Valdez said Van Alstyne’s lines underwent changes in the last few games of the season, with Jenna Leinart being a highlight for the team after stepping up and adapting well to a new position on the court.


“(Leinart) has recently been put into a new position and she showed a lot of progress,” Valdez said. Alyssa Hill and Liz Purser were also highlights for Van Alstyne during the sweep.


“Everyone really stepped up into their roles that night and did their jobs well,” said Valdez.


The Lady Panthers will face-off against Leonard on Friday, Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. in Whitewright, with the winner earning third place in the district. Playoff schedules will be determined based off the winner.


You can keep up with Micah Welch, Lindi Boling, Torin Riddick and the rest of the Lady Panthers online at www.VanAlstyneLeader.com/Sports as the team anticipates the playoffs and the All-District volleyball player selections.