From the outset of their district semifinals match with Federal Hocking, the Clay Lady Panthers seemed poised for a victory. Clay was able to defeat Federal Hocking Wednesday night in straight sets (25-12, 15, 15) to reach the district championship once again.
“All my bigs’ came out and played tonight” said Lady Panthers head coach Sarah Hammond following their victory at Jackson High School, “And our passing was pretty good tonight too. What we lacked tonight was our serving which usually isn’t our weak suit, but we’ll take it.”
As Hammond said, her hitters came out to play in their district semifinal match by taking an early 13-7 lead early in the match. Clay would continue their great play as division IV district 14 and SOC I player of the year Jensen Warnock stepped up to the line and delivered for her team by scoring two aces to give the Lady Panthers the set win 25-12 and taking the 1-0 match advantage.
Clay would carry their momentum from the big first set victory into the second and third sets where they were able to continue playing their style of game and win each set decisively by a score of 25-15 propelling them to a 3-0 match win. The Lady Panthers were playing so well with a chance on the district championship on the line, Hammond didn’t have to use a single timeout to try and rally her team.
Leading Clay in kills were Warnock and senior Delanie Gilliland who had 23 and 13 respectively. Warnock also had six aces as part of her team’s total of thirteen aces. Senior Skylar Artis led the team with 13 digs while fellow senior Lila Brown led the Lady Panthers in assists with 35 and service points with 15. Senior libero Shaelyn Vassar lead Clay with a team high 16 service receptions, fulfilling her role as libero perfectly.
The Lady Panthers advance to the district finals where they will face the Eastern (Meigs) Eagles this Saturday at Jackson High School at 3:00 p.m. for a spot in the regional semifinals.
“They have their hearts set on the regionals and hopefully getting Notre Dame again” said Hammond in looking forward to Saturday’s match, “But we have to get through Saturday. We’re going to stay for a little bit (to watch the next match) and see what the competition is going to be like.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT