SP Volleyball gets win in classic tournament

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 11, 2015

SP Volleyball gets win in classic tournament

By Myra Bean
The South Panola volleyball team kicked off the season participating in the Pontotoc tournament this past weekend.

They got their first win of the season over Amory 25-8, 18-25 and 15-6.

The Lady Tigers lost to the host team, Pontotoc, 25-19, 25-18.

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South Panola returns to action at Cleveland East Side today at 5 p.m.

Head coach Haylee Lipe spoke of the growth the team has experienced having one season under its belt.

The team is led by returning starters Courtney Towles, Jaterrica Amos, Halla Gordon, Maci Kirkland, Rachel Towles, Madalyn Hawthorne, Sierra Fewell, and Nicole Rensink.
Lipe said the team is much better than last year.

“We still have a load of work to do, but with this only being our second season, I am confident that we will win more than last year,” she said.

With a year of experience, Lipe said she expects the teams’ instincts to be better this year than last. They went into the season completely blind last year, according to Lipe, after the program had been dormant for about five years.

“This year, we should be able to have a more natural reaction to plays,” she said. “I also expect them to dig deeper, and work harder.”

Captain Courtney Towles agreed with her coach.

“Last year we all came into this sport blind,” Towles said. “We didn’t realize how little we knew about it, or how many of us would absolutely fall in love with Volleyball. We worked so hard last year, but just couldn’t pull more than one win, which was disappointing to us.”

Towles vows the team will be better than last year.

“We have faith in ourselves,” she said. “We know more about the game, and we believe in our team.”

Being captain is a heavy roll, according to Towles.

“It makes me not only push myself harder, but also push my teammates to the victory that we all want,” she added. “Volleyball is not only a sport to us anymore. We love this game, and we will shine bright this year. It’s a new year, and it’s going to be bigger and way better than last year.”
The players she said who have improved the most over last year are sophomore twins Jakia and Jerkira Coleman.

“They are a force to be reckoned with,” she said. “I am anxious to see how they are playing when they are seniors. They are only sophomores this year, and will most definitely be in the starting rotation.”

Also showing marked improvement is captain Courtney Towles.

“Courtney has also made leaps and bounds,” Lipe said. “She has completely taken a leadership role on this team and I’m proud of the athlete she has become.”

Some new faces on the team which Lipe expects to make some contributions are Bailey Aldridge, Hannah Gowen and Destiny Rudd.

Aldridge could definitely see some playing time on the varsity court this year, according to Lipe. Gowen has a “tenacious attitude” which Lipe said will take her far in this sport.
“Destiny Rudd can serve a ball to Pope,” Lipe said.

Last year South Panola played as an independent team, but this year will play in the district with Hernando, Columbus and Tupelo.

She said the schedule is really tough. They have a 16-game schedule and three more tournaments.

“These teams have been playing for years. Those girls have been playing since they were in middle school and mine only have a year under their belt. However, we intend to give it all we have and compete with them. We want to win,” she said.

Towles made an appeal to the fans.

“We hope to see everyone in the stands this year helping to root us on,” she said “Our first home game is on August 20 at 5 and it will also be Meet the Tigers. Please come and support us, and allow us to show you how we have improved.”

High School students can get in for free with their high school identification badge. All other tickets are $5.

“Thanks for your support both last year and this year,” the captain said.