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.

Elmore County volleyball coach Kim Moncrief and her sister, Reeltown coach Kelli Hilyer, both say they want what’s best for their programs. They also battle against each other on the softball field.

Tuesday in Eclectic, Moncrief added another win over Hilyer.

Elmore County completed a sweep of Reeltown, 25-11, 25-18 and 25-11, to give the Panthers (2-1) their second straight win.

The Panthers finished with 26 team kills, led by Mirriam Foster’s five. Chloe Andress had a team-high 14 assists and Brianna Baker had a team-high 10 digs.

Elmore County’s work on finishing games is paying off. The Panthers gave up just three points in the first and third sets after getting to the 23rd point.

“We want to make sure that we don’t relax when we get to that point,” Moncrief said. “They know we need to get that final point as quickly as we can. (Tuesday), I think we did a good job with that.”

Elmore County looks to keep things rolling as it visits another Class 2A foe in Horseshoe Bend on Thursday.

Is it better to get a few bragging rights against your sister? Moncrief said it’s a friendly rivalry.

“It’s fun (to coach against her),” Moncrief said. “She wouldn’t want me or my team to take it easy on her and she wouldn’t take it easy on me. We just have a lot of fun with it and both of my teams will be better because of it.”

The end of the second set will be a building blocks for the Rebels (2-3), who worked their way to a 19-17 deficit before the Panthers scored six of the final seven points of the set.

Taniya Haynes had five kills during the second set for Reeltown. Kiley Bowens finished with 11 digs and Gabby Williams finished with eight for the Rebels.

“We really came together in the second set,” Hilyer said. “Elmore County’s a really good team and to get in there as close as we did, we did some very good things. The other two sets, we just stopped talking, moving, getting to where we’re supposed to be.”

Area play looms for Reeltown, which visits Fayetteville on Thursday. Reeltown already has a leg up in Class 2A Area 8 after earning a straight set victory over Thorsby on Aug. 27.

If the Rebels can build off the second set in Tuesday’s loss, Hilyer said the third-year program could find itself battling for one of the top two spots in the area. Reeltown finished third in last year’s area tournament.

“I told the ladies that it’s good to play a tough team going into area,” Hilyer said. “The girls know what to expect. Our area matches will be just as hard, so we hope we can learn from playing tough against Elmore County.”