Jackson County's mission this year on the volleyball court is a winning season and the first couple days of action has the Panthers believing.
After winning just four times all of last year, Jackson County is off to a 3-3 start after splitting a pair of matches with East Hall and Duluth on the road Tuesday.
“We are continuing to get better and fix our mistakes,” coach Crystal Colley said. “I am excited about the season.”
The schedule continues with a pair of matches against Tallulah Falls. The Panthers face the Indians at home Thursday at 7 p.m. and on the road Aug. 26 at a time to be determined.
Jackson County beat East Hall Tuesday in three sets (19-25, 25-15, 25-15) to move to 1-0 in area play.
Jackson County lost to Duluth in three sets (15-25, 25-23, 12-25).
“The girls continued to have great digs and kills, yet could not pull together their serve,” Colley said of the Duluth match. “We lost 10 points just by beating ourselves on the serve. The girls never gave up and continued to fight for the win.”
Jasmine Williams led the team in “kills” with nine, followed by Rahcel Smith (eight) and Breanna Chapman (six). Smith was the leading server with four aces and a total of 16 points off serves. Naly Thao also led the team in assists.
“The entire team did a great job at digging,” Colley said.
Prior to Tuesday’s matches, Jackson County got off to a 2-2 start after splitting its four matches Saturday in a multi-team “play date” at East Jackson.
Jackson County beat Walnut Grove 25-21, 25-14 and Lumpkin County 25-17 and 25-16 while suffering setbacks to Loganville 25-17, 25-21 and George Walton 25-11, 25-5.
Among other things, Colley said her team’s serving percentage improved in the season-opening event as opposed to last year. Samantha Kenneth was the Panthers’ top server with 19 points off serves and five aces.
Colley also pointed to the play of Katie Ruddick, who had 15 kills Saturday.
Colley reiterated her team’s preseason goal of finishing above the .500 mark and its focus on achieving that mark.
“Each person has high expectations for this year and so do I,” Colley said.