Pioneer and Caston opened up sectional play in volleyball Thursday night in Royal Center with mixed results.
The Lady Panthers opened things up in the first match by downing Tri-County in three sets 25-16, 25-4, 25-10. In the second match Caston played tough and battled all the way through but fell to South Newton by the score of 24-26, 25-19, 25-19, 25-16.
Class A No. 7 Pioneer (24-9) will face South Newton (18-13) at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Though Pioneer easily dispatched the Cavaliers in the opening match, the Panthers’ offense seemed as if they could not find their rhythm during the first game. Thanks to the defensive net play of Hannah Tevis, Lyndsey Stewart and Sarah Dorris, the Lady Panthers fed off them and got the offense rolling in turning away the Cavs.
Riley Morris returned to the Panther lineup and was a big spark for her squad in the second set. With the score at 14-2 and Pioneer already in control, Morris started serving and held serve until it was 22-2 before sailing one out of bounds.
“The past couple of games that we played we had a lot of mental mistakes and didn’t look very sharp,” Pioneer coach Rod Nies said. “Our goal tonight was to have good ball control and try to really take it to them. We’re just working on a few things to maintain our skills and just working to keep getting better to see how far it can take us.”
On the night Morris led the Panthers with 15 assists, four aces, three digs and 22 service points. Also for Pioneer, Dorris ended with six aces, 20 digs, one block and 12 service points. Megan Smith finished up with four aces, 12 digs and 13 points. Tevis had 13 kills and seven blocks while Stewart ended with seven kills and five blocks. Senior Kayte Miller ended with 10 digs for the Lady Panthers.