Panthers, Pam Pack spikers hit the court|Coaches pleased with first scrimmage

Published 12:14 pm Friday, August 14, 2009

Sports Editor

YEATESVILLE — With Tami Wagaman already awaiting the return of one setter, the loss of another early in Thursday’s volleyball scrimmage certainly didn’t help matters.
However, the Northside Panthers were able to regroup after Brittany Ward went down with a knee injury. Senior Whitney Lewis, one of the area’s top hitters, moved into the setter position and the team didn’t seem to miss a beat while going up against Washington.
“It was a loss because Whitney is a powerful hitter, but it also gave us a lot of options at setter because, on second hits, she was hitting it,” Northside coach Tami Wagaman said. “People aren’t used to that.
“It made my girls think and get in new formations without me telling them exactly where to go. That’s good for them. They don’t need to be in a set formation all the time.”
Ward will be out for about a week. That means Wagaman will have to rely on Lewis as she waits for Ward and Jordan Cooke, a sophomore, to get healthy.
Lewis is fine with that.
“As long as I’m playing, I’m happy,” Lewis said.
Both the Panthers and Pam Pack looked good at times, but both coaches said there is certainly room for improvement.
“We still have several things to work on,” Washington coach Tara Hunter said. “For the most part, for the first time playing against a live team, I’m pretty pleased.”
Blaklee Wolfe had some big kills, while Haley Hiatt delivered a number of bullets while serving. Overall, Hunter was pleased with her team’s play.
“I think we did really well,” Hunter said. “A lot of things came together. They really proved that they can talk to each other, which is a big plus.
“We’re getting into the habit of doing the bump, set, hit thing as opposed to sending it over on a free ball.”
The Panthers got some solid play at the net from sophomore Rachel Hollowell, senior Savanna Boyd and junior Sara Credle, along with Lewis. Boyd said she was happy to see her team respond so well after Ward went down.
“We managed to pull through,” Boyd said. “I think we did pretty good. We still have some things to work on, but I think we got better as the game went along. Overall, I think we did pretty good.”
Wagaman was pleased with the outcome.
“I think we got some good out of it,” Wagaman said. “It was good to go against some tall girls. We come across so many tall teams in our conference. In practice, it’s hard to get used to that.”
The Pam Pack begins its season Monday at home against Southside.
Northside plays its season opener Tuesday at North Pitt. The Panthers are home for the first time Aug. 20 against Columbia.