After watching her Paris Ladycats drop the first set of Tuesday’s district volleyball match at North Lamar, head coach Britney Humphrey called a timeout when the Pantherettes jumped out to an 8-0 lead in Game 2.
“Don’t let them get in your head,” Humphrey pleaded in the huddle.
It was too late. The Pantherettes had already camped out in the Ladycats’ collective cerebrum, pitched their tent, started a fire and were roasting marshmallows en route to a dominant, 25-17, 25-15, 25-19 win in the Panther Gym to create chaos atop the District 14-4A standings.
The result dropped Paris (20-12 overall) into a 3-way tie for first place with Liberty-Eylau and Pleasant Grove with matching 3-1 district marks. Defending champion North Lamar, after a rocky 0-2 start, is now just one match back at 2-2 followed by Pittsburg (1-3) and Atlanta (0-4).
Tuesday’s latest win was the Pantherettes’ 13th straight over the Ladycats. NL has outscored Paris, 39-4, in sets over that timespan. The last Paris victory in the crosstown series occurred during the 2010 season when the Ladycats swept all three meetings including a win in the regional quarterfinals.
How one-sided was Tuesday’s match? Paris held set leads on just 4 occasions: 3-2, 4-3, and 5-4 in Game 1 and 1-0 in Game 3. Pantherettes coach Misty Ford had to call just one timeout with her team-leading, 21-16, in Game 3 after 5 Pantherettes unforced errors created a 6-0 Paris run.
Otherwise, it was clear sailing for the hosts who used their superior frontline height to keep the smaller Ladycats on their heels. Senior 6-0 middle blocker Jacie McFatridge led the way with 11 kills, 4 blocks, and 4 service aces.
A trio of 5-8 hitters played big supporting roles. Junior Mackenzie Mitchell dropped in 6 kills and 2 blocks, sophomore Macie Pointer had 4 kills and 2 blocks, and senior Amber White produced a pair of kills and 3 aces.
For Paris, sophomore Grace Woodby notched 7 kills, while 5-10 junior Peaches Jackson had 4 kills and 4 blocks, and senior Zanesha Dangerfield finished with 4 kills. Still, the Ladycats were their own worst enemy, committing 33 total unforced errors in the match, including 6 on service and a couple of offensive sets they let fall untouched to the floor.
NL also dominated play in the JV matches Tuesday, winning both by 2-0 counts, although the Ladycats’ JV Blue squad managed a big comeback in Game 2 before falling.
Next up for Paris will be a trip Friday to the Texarkana Rader Dome to face L-E and close out the first half of the district round-robin. Fortunately, the Ladycats will get a break in the schedule with 4 of their last 5 district matches on their home court including an Oct. 20 rematch with NL on Paris Homecoming in the Wildcat Gym.