AMORY – The Amory Lady Panthers finished off a clean sweep of their division last Tuesday night with a 3-1 win over Nettleton, making it back-to-back division titles.
Amory took a dominating 25-12 score in the first set, then held on for the 25-22 win in the second set. Nettleton bounced back to win the third one, 25-21, but the Lady Panthers rode a hot start to a 25-6 win in the fourth set.
“It feels great to sweep our division. They like to play a lot, and we have been working on that all season that there’s a time to play and a time to be serious,” Amory coach Shay Ashford said. “When we play, we don’t play to our full potential, so then we have games like the third set and then we’ll get it back together.”
The two teams traded the lead early twice with kills from Amory’s Jenia Bolton and Emarie Boddie and Nettleton’s Aaliyah Harris. An ace from Sasha Burdine and a kill from Ella Phillips pushed Amoy’s lead out to 8-5, and Jayda Sims had a pair of aces to start to get some breathing room.
The Lady Panthers finished out the first set with a few kills from Burdine and another from Bolton, and Kami Wilf’s ace accounted for the final point.
The second set start out close once again before back-to-back kills from Keionna Thompson and Phillips put Amory up. Kinzie Marchetti served up three straight aces to extend the lead to 13-7, but the Lady Tigers got back in the set late as Tamera Martin spiked a kill and Chloe Humble had a pair of aces to cut it to one.
The Lady Panthers finished off the second set with the last two points, including an ace from Phillips for the final one.
Amory led early in the third set, but Nettleton kept it close and took its first lead at 10-9 on a kill from Harris. They went up by as many as three before the Lady Panthers fought back and went up 15-13 on Thompson’s ace.
A string of kills from Harris put Nettleton back up, and they finished the third set strong with a Zion Seals ace and kills from Harris and Martin.
Amory rebounded in the final set, putting up a 12-0 lead before Nettleton could crack the scoreboard. Phillips had four aces in that run, while Burdine had a pair of kills. The Lady Tigers only got as close as 12 points, and the Lady Panthers finished the set and match win with the final three points.
“Ella (Phillips) did a really good job of keeping her composure and serving well in that last set,” Ashford said. “Sasha had some good hits. Everyone contributed tonight, which is great, because we’re working on going to state. We have to be able to play as a team with everyone contributing somehow.”
Phillips led the way for Amory with nine kills and added five aces. Burdine was right behind her with eight kills, while Wilf had five and a pair of aces. Bolton finished with four kills, and Marchetti added three aces.
Harris had a game-high 13 kills, while Martin and Bella Scruggs added four each. Seals had three kills and two aces, while Humble had three aces.
Amory will open up the playoffs at home on Tuesday against Byhalia, while the loss wraps up the season for Nettleton.