The Van Alstyne Lady Panthers got off to a positive start on Aug. 19 at home against Wolfe City, winning the first set of their non-district match, 25-18. The end result was not as sunny, however.
This was the first time this season that the Lady Panthers had played on their home court as they have spent time at Van Alstyne Middle School’s gym due to gym floor repairs at the high school.
Late in that set the visitors went on a 5-0 run, but a big early lead held up for Van Alstyne in the seven-point win. Elizabeth Purser had four kills, three coming in the first nine points, and Peyton Welch sent in four winners as well.
A kill by Welch gave the Lady Panthers an 11-5 edge and she dropped in another shot as Van Alstyne ran off five straight points. Leading 21-10, two Wolfe City errors got the margin to 12 before the Lady Wolves made a move. Lexi Hattaway sent in two kills, but they could not get any closer.
The second set was a back and forth battle from the start. There were nine ties and seven lead changes in the set, and neither side could gain any significant lead on the board.
Purser had an ace and a kill in the early going, and a Torin Riddick kill gave Van Alstyne a 12-9 lead. That evaporated quickly as Hattaway and Skylar Brower began to rally the visitors.
An ace by Peyton Welch tied the set at 18-18 and a Sydney Burton kill gave Van Alstyne a 20-18 lead, before a Welch ace made it a three-point game.
Browers went cross-court for a winner that keyed a 3-0 run for the Lady Wolves, tying the set at 21-21. Wolfe City held on to take a 25-22 win and even the match.
The visitors got off to the hot start in the third set, leading 11-5 before Van Alstyne came back. A Peyton Welch kill, two aces by Lindi Boling and a Dakota Kern shot tied the set at 11-11.
Back-to-back kills by Brower and then her subsequent block put the Lady Wolves back on top. A late rally by Van Alstyne fell short as Wolfe City posted a 25-20 win.
Early in the fourth set Shelby Litzkow sent in an ace that broke a 9-9 tie and keyed a 4-0 Van Alstyne run. Two kills by Purser sandwiched an ace by Alyssa Hill for the Lady Panthers as they took five-point lead.
Kills by Hill and Sydney Ingram fueled the Lady Panther offense, but the visitors would not go away.
Two Brower kills tied the set late at 24-24, and after another tie at 25-all a Hattaway winner locked up a 27-25 win for Wolfe City as it took the match win.
Anna 3, Van Alstyne 2
The Anna Lady Coyotes rallied from an 0-2 deficit to post a 3-2 match win in Van Alstyne on Tuesday.
Van Alstyne broke open a 20-20 first-set tie to win the opener, 25-23.
Peyton Welch had an ace to put the Lady Panthers up 21-20, and three straight kills by Alyssa Hill were enough for the win.
An early kill by Torin Riddick gave the Lady Panthers a 10-6 lead in the second set. After a pair of kills by Hill, Elizabeth Purser sent in two winners to give the hosts a five-point lead. Welch had two aces and held serve through a 6-0 run as the Lady Panthers cruised to a 25-15 win.
Senior Skylar Van norman got the visitors off to a positive start in the third and they never trailed in a 25-20 win to climb back into the match.
A couple of early kills by Sydney Ingram and two by Hill keyed the Lady Panthers’ early play in the fourth set as they tried to close out the match. The lead grew to 20-10 before two aces and a kill by Taylor Medrick got the Anna crowd involved.
With a 24-21 lead, Van Alstyne was looking for that match point but could never get over the hump. Anna got a kill from Medrick to gain the 30-28 win and even the match.
It was all Anna in the 15-point, fifth set, and after a 3-3 tie the visitors took over. Back-to-back winners by Medrick gave the Lady Coyotes a 15-9 win.
The Lady Panthers were 2-1 in pool play at the Denison Tournament on Aug. 18 with wins over S&S and Trenton before losing to the Lady Jackets from Denison.
In bracket play on Aug. 19, the Lady Panthers won just one of their three matches.