The Amory Lady Panthers have achieved history, clinching their first postseason appearance in school history.
Amory topped Aberdeen 3-0 last Tuesday night at home to clinch second place, winning in three sets with scores of 25-20, 25-15 and 25-16.
“Being able to sweep them was big because we had to beat them in less sets or less points. I scheduled them on purpose at the end because you hope you can be the best you can be then,” Amory volleyball coach Amanda Ragon said. “I told the girls I was excited about communicating and serving and learning how to have a winning mentality. We came from a season where we only won three games, and now we have only lost three games. The leadership has been a coach’s dream, and our girls have bought into what we’re trying to teach. They get better every day, and the results are showing and we’re gaining confidence.”
Earlier in the season, Aberdeen topped Amory in a five-set thriller, and Ragon said she’s changed her lineup and rotations since then.
“When we played there, Amaya Trimble didn’t play, and now she’s stepped up as middle blocker and earned her position. We also moved Jillian Cox in with Kaleigh Morgan, and being able to rotate them in keeps us strong there, and they both had a great game,” Ragon said. “Everyone who subbed in came in knowing their position and attacking the ball. We worked hard on executing plays. I was very proud of the way we got the ball to our setters, set the ball to get a kill and even if we didn’t get the kill, we worked hard to win the point.”
Ragon also praised her usual lineup, including Kathryn Cooke, Taylor Hindman and Madelyn Williams.
“Kathryn played a great game, and so did all my seniors. Taylor and Maddie got really crucial points for us,” she said. “Kami Wilf is a freshman, and she doesn’t have a sub and made big plays. Caroline Nestor and Sasha Burdine chased down balls on the back row. We were playing through until we heard the whistle and putting forth a lot more effort.”
Ragon said dropping down a class has helped out with being able to get a playoff spot.
“We’re in a division now where we can compete. That was a tough division before with Caledonia, Pontotoc and some of the larger schools,” Ragon said. “Now we are matched up evenly with talent, and we can have fun and go in and have a real game. It’s a learning game, and you can still get beat any time, but I’m excited. It’s taken a whole season to cultivate the mentality of the team, the leadership and who’s going to play where. It’s finally coming together.”
The first round of the volleyball playoffs is Oct. 17.