Panthers topple Bulldogs for the second time this season

Published 7:29 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2023

LaFayette and Lanett faced off for the second time this season as the Panthers continued their winning ways in the rivalry. 

Lanett beat the Bulldogs in straight sets on Wednesday. The match went 25-21, 25-13 and 25-9.
Coming into the week, the Panthers needed to get back in the win column after losing to Horseshoe Bend last week. Before the loss, the Panthers were 8-0. Lanett has started a new winning streak this week with wins over Russell County and LaFayette. 

Despite winning in straight sets to a rival, Head Coach Krisse Story was unsatisfied with the win. Story still believes that her team is not playing to its full potential. 

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“Honestly, our energy was just really low,” Story said after the match. “We didn’t play well tonight. We won and I’m excited for the win, especially since it’s an area game, but we didn’t play well tonight.” 

The first set was the most competitive of the three sets. Lanett just scraped by with a four-point win, and LaFayette held a lead several different times during the set. The next two sets were not nearly as competitive. 

Assistant coach Hannah Slay has been working with the girls to improve every aspect of their game. Slay believes that the team let its energy drop completely from the first set to the last. 

“I really think the difference in the second and third games compared to the first was our attitudes,” Slay said after the game. “We just kind of got down and in our heads. We have a young team, it kind of comes with that.” 

The loss dropped LaFayette’s record to 2-4 on the season. Still, that record seems like a revelation compared to where the program has been in the past. Now, the coaching staff is figuring out which steps need to be taken to get the team to new heights. 

“We’ve got to work on fine-tuning our skills,” Slay said. “A lot of these girls didn’t start playing until July. There young skills, I’ve just got to polish those skills and teach them about the game of volleyball.” 

The win brought the Panthers record to 10-1 on the season. Expectations have only gotten higher as the season has continued.

 Story saw several things that needed to improve for the team to get to where it needs to be before the area tournament. Story did not believe the team’s setter was at her best tonight, but serving and passing are more prevalent issues. 

“Our serves were not good,” Story said. “Our passing was a little bit off tonight.” 

Lanett has handled every bit of competition this season except Horseshoe Bend. Going forward, Story is expecting Laila Lancaster, Makia White and Tamia Spratling to step up and lead the team.
“Of course, I’m concerned about the games that are coming up, but my focus is on how we can improve for the area tournament,” Story said.