Elmore County’s volleyball team ready for another title defense

Staff / The Observer

Elmore County head caoch Kim Moncrief looks on as her Lady Panthers battle Monroe County in the first round of the 2017 Class 4A Tournament.

Thursday’s Elmore County-Central Coosa volleyball match featured a slew of errors indicative of two teams playing in their initial games of the season.

Elmore County was coming off a four-set loss to Alabama Christian and Central Coosa drew a tough opponent for its season opener.

Despite not looking very sharp, Elmore County took care of Central Coosa with a 25-12, 25-20, 25-8 sweep.

The Panthers (1-1) were led by a balanced attack, which is expected to be the norm throughout the season. Elmore County had 19 team kills.

Kelley Green led the Panthers with seven aces, six assists and four kills. Mirriam Foster had five kills. Brianna Baker had a team-high eight digs and Chloe Andress added a team-high eight assists.

“We’ve got some great leadership with our seniors,” Panthers head coach Kim Moncrief said. “Kelley Green is a new player on our team and has really played well. Nothing has surprised me about these girls so far. We have such high expectations for the season, so we have some work to do.”

The Panthers lost the first two points of each of the first two sets, then began the third set on a 14-2 run.

After two matches, Moncrief said it’s hard to gauge how well her team is playing early on.

“We’ve started out really decently,” Moncrief said. “Both teams have great competition in their areas this season. ACA is really strong and it’s good that we went to four sets with them. We’ve got to learn how to finish our games. That’s one thing we need to focus on, but it’s good to play tough competition at the start of the season.”

Central Coosa (0-1) almost pulled off a dramatic turnaround in the second set, fighting off eight set points before the final kill from Foster.

The Cougars, coming off their third area championship in the last four seasons, hope to be done with first-match jitters.

Cougars coach Chris Elliott said his team showed great effort in a match against an Elmore County squad which is seeking its 10th consecutive area championship.

“I thought we got off to a slow start,” Elliott said. “This was a good way to start the year. I told the girls to be ready because the serves would be harder. The hits would be harder. For us, it’s about getting better and the step up in competition will be good in the long run.”

Elliott is still working out some logistics with his new team. He handed out emergency contact forms after Thursday’s game. Central Coosa also lost a point in the third set after a discrepancy with their rotation of players.