Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

SPORTS >>Lady Panthers stumble

Leader sportswriter

After a dynamic performance the weekend before at the Lady Cyclone tournament at Russellville, the Cabot Lady Panthers hit a bit of a stumbling block during last weekend’s ASU invitational tournament at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.

The Lady Panthers were grouped with an extremely tough pool of teams for their preliminary matches, going 1-5 in three matches against Jonesboro, Conway and Jonesboro Westside. The win came against the Lady Hurricane, but the five game losses put them deep in the rankings for the afternoon bracket play.

“We did not hit the ball well at all,” Lady Panthers coach Terry Williams said. “We didn’t sit the ball well, or get set up for the shot. It just wasn’t as good as the week before; not as much execution, and not as intense.”

While the pool games matched the Lady Panthers up with current and former conference rivals, the bracket games pitted them in a trio of matchups with some strong squads from Missouri. Cabot took on Dexter in the first round of bracket play, losing in straight games, 19-25 and 11-25.

“They weren’t as big as we were, they just didn’t make many mistakes,” Williams said. “They were really skilled; they just played solid and let you beat yourself.” The Lady Panthers’ only win of the tournament would come in the consolation bracket against Caruthersville, Mo., in a 25-19, 25-17 straight games win. The win kept Cabot alive and advanced them to the next round in a matchup with Poplar Bluff, Mo., but the Lady Panthers lost the final match of the tournament for them in a close 23-25, 23-25 decision.

Although the hitting and overall performance wasn’t quite as strong as she was expecting, Williams did note that their strong serving and serve-receiving were as strong as ever.

“We still served at 90 percent plus,” Williams said. “Our receiving was still in the high ‘80s, so we kept up in those two areas, we just didn’t hit well.” The win and two losses put the Lady Panthers at 10-7 overall for the season. The Lady Panthers hosted Mt. Saint Mary’s at the Panther gymnasium last night after Leader deadlines. The varsity-only match was the final match in the first round of the conference schedule.