Lady Panthers ‘dig pink’ as they cruise past Southside

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017

PINETOWN — Northside and Southside were set for battle once again. The Lady Panthers hosted their Beaufort County rival and 1-A Coastal Plains Conference foe for their annual “dig pink” game and senior night.

PHOTOS: Southside at Northside volleyball

It was more of the same as Northside rolled to a 3-0 win to sweep the season series with the Lady Seahawks. The home side notched its third win in a row and ninth of the season, and did so in convincing fashion.

“It feels good. They came out here for a good cause. It was a good win for us,” Northside coach Michelle Leathers said. “Everybody just played hard. It keeps the momentum going for Thursday.”

Meanwhile, Southside continued to struggle. It had just picked up a pair of wins during a three-game home stand. The loss at Northside marked back-to-back sweeps, though. Problems with communication and mounting mistakes hampered the Lady Seahawks as their closes set was an 11-point loss.

“They seem to get a little rattled and tired,” Southside coach Atyana Starkie said. “You can have the skill, but you have to have the chemistry to go with it. It’s like a machine.”

Northside got the first point of the match. Southside picked up the second, tying the opening set 1-1. Then the Lady Panthers got the next seven. Savannah Slade had three aces as her side stormed out to an 8-1 advantage. It got the home crowd rocking.

“It’s nice to have the support and the love. Everybody knows it’s a good cause,” Leathers said. The Lady Panthers have benefitted from a stellar home atmosphere all season long. “To see the stands and the parents and student body that come out to support us, it’s great.”

Logan Jefferson, Emori Smith, Jessica Foster and Grace Armstrong all had kills in quick succession. Smith then added a serving ace to produce a 15-2 lead for Northside. The Lady Seahawks got some strong net-front work from the likes of Symone Ruffin, but couldn’t keep the serve when they got it.

After winning the first set, 25-9, Northside rolled to a 5-1 lead quick in the second. It was Hannah Paramore and Ruffin at the net that put Southside on the board and gave them the serve back. Michaela Dixon had a tip that found uncovered court for a kill, and Savannah Edwards’ ace cut the deficit to 11-4.

The Lady Seahawks got as close as four points, but Northside pulled together and used its serving and strong hitters to pull back ahead for a 25-12 win.

Danielle Ruffin positions herself to break a serve from Northside.

The two sides exchanged blows early in the third set. Smith had two kills sandwiched between an ace from Slade. The Lady Seahawks did better to set up and make points competitive, but couldn’t keep it close for long.

“I will say we try to set up a little bit more,” Starkie said of improvements she noticed since Southside’s last match with Northside. “We were in position, but weren’t necessarily ready for the impact of the hit.”

Dixon’s stellar serve let Southside interrupt a surge by Northside, but the Lady Panthers got the ball right back on an error. Slade pummeled a ball into the hardwood, and Brooklyn Hudnell added her name to the list of Northside players to notch an ace. It was 17-8 in favor of the home team before long.

Southside was able to fuel a comeback on some over-aggressiveness by Northside, but the Lady Panthers closed out the match with a 25-14 win in the third set.