Lady Panthers finish the first round of district play

By Griff Servati
For the Van Alstyne Leader
Sammy Moore with a block at the net in the game against Aubrey.

The Lady Panthers have wrapped up the first round of district play. The district schedule is a home-and-away series with each team, and the top four teams move into the state playoffs. After completing the first round, the Lady Panthers are currently in fifth place. The district opponents are Celina, Aubrey, Anna, Melissa, Sanger, and Gainesville.

The Lady Panthers had the tough run with facing Celina, Aubrey, and Melissa. They lost to each team in the three games, only earning a set victory in the recent 3-1 loss to Aubrey. Celina is currently ranked as the 4th in the Texas Girls Coaches Association polls.

Riley Ross with a back-row dig.

A general trend with the top-tier teams for the Lady Panthers has been a very contested game one. Each of those games came down to a play or two or a call from the referee deciding the game and the Lady Panthers dropping the set.

That was the case in the Aubrey matchup, where a net interference call was not issued on a Chaparral middle blocker, earning the point and the victory. After losing a close game one 24-26, a letdown happened in game two, with the Lady Panthers allowing a 0-8 run to start the game. The Lady Panthers made a late run, but it was too far behind to pull the comeback.

McKenna Jensen with a dig.

The Lady Panthers showed drive and determination in the third game with their approach and were able to pull out the victory. The Lady Panthers were down 23-24 when sophomore back-row specialist Kaelyn Miller stepped to the serving line. She served two impressive serves that the Lady Panthers could score points on, taking the lead. At game point, she dropped in an ace to claim the victory.

The team pushed the Chaparrals in the fourth game, and it was looking like this one was heading to a game-deciding 5th set, when the Chaparrals capitalized and pulled out the victory 25-22.

This week on Friday evening, the Lady Panthers travel to Sanger for an important matchup with playoff implications. The Lady Panthers lost to the Lady Indians in the first round of district play. They will need to get the win on Friday night to have any hopes of making the playoffs.

The team celebrates with Kaelyn Miller (3) on her game-winning ace against Aubrey.