Lanett Panthers get off to a good start against LaFayette

Published 11:58 pm Thursday, August 24, 2023

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Lanett and LaFayette faced off on Thursday to open up volleyball season for each of the programs. The matchup was all aces for Lanett as the Panthers beat the Bulldogs in straight sets. 

Lanett won the first set 25-11, the second 25-17 and the third set 25-12. Head Coach Krisse Story was pleased with the results to open the season. 

“I’m always satisfied with a victory,” Story said. “I’m always glad when we win. We do have some things we need to work on.” 

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Briasia Hines came up big for Lanett in the first set. The scoring was somewhat close until Hines got up to serve. In the set, Hines totaled nine aces. 

“When she’s on, she’s on,” Story said. “She can really serve the ball. We have a couple of girls who can really serve.” 

Going into the game, anyone there could have noticed that size would be an advantage for the Panthers. Hines, Chloe Jones, Laila Lancaster and Makiah White were all threats at the net at different points in the game. 

“How they play at the net is going to be instrumental in how far we advance and how well we do as the season goes on,” Story said. 

Any time you lose the opening game, it’s always going to sting. However, just keeping the match close shows how far this LaFayette program has come. 

Overall, the scoring output in each of the sets was more than Chase Lewis has seen in his tenure as the head coach. 

“We just had three games with double digit scoring,” Lewis said. “We never had three games last year with double digit scoring. They played great.” 

As Lewis has come to expect, Toniya Collier was a coach on the floor for the Bulldogs. Collier spent time during the match explaining rotations and encouraging her teammates. 

LaFayette’s passing looked better than it has in year’s past. Lewis credits that improvement to lots of practice and his two assistant coaches Hannah Slay and Kim Slay. 

“We spend most of our practices passing,” Lewis said. “The passing drills over and over, it showed up.” 

Attendance at practice has also been important for the improvement of LaFayette’s team this offseason. Lewis said that none of the girls have missed a practice. 

Most of the sets were decided by serving. Lanett took over games with a flurry of aces. Lewis thinks a part of that came from the intimidation factor that Lanett’s powerful serves had. 

“That’s it right there, just making sure they’re ready to get in front and not be scared,” Lewis said. 

Despite the win, Story saw several things that needed to be fixed in practice. 

“I was satisfied with the serving, but some of our stronger servers, their balls were going out of bounds,” Story said. “Those are points that we’re basically giving away.” 

Story also felt that passing needed to be improved. One major positive for Lanett was their depth.