Southside downs Ellwood in in regular season finale

Published 10:51 pm Thursday, October 15, 2015

Southside’s Quadasha Holmes hits a ball to her teammates during Southside’s game against Ellwood Christian. Both teams played their regular season finales Thursday. --Justin Fedich

Southside’s Janelle Williams hits a ball to her teammates during Southside’s game against Ellwood Christian. Both teams played their regular season finales Thursday. –Justin Fedich

By Justin Fedich | The Selma Times-Journal 

The Southside Panthers defeated the Ellwood Christian Eagles 25-11, 25-16, 25-19 in both team’s regular season finale. Both Southside and Ellwood had an uphill battle this season with many players on each side who were new to volleyball, but both coaches have seen their teams grow throughout the season.

“They have progressed tremendously from the first time we got out on the floor,” said Southside head coach Samantha Henry. “They’ve learned the game, so they know the rules. They’re still learning some of the rules but overall, I think we’re a competitive team.”

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Unlike Southside, Ellwood had some experience going into the season, but Ellwood head coach Calvin Marshall is happy with the way his team has competed this season.

“I am tremendously proud of my seniors, and I’m proud of my newcomers,” Marshall said.

Southside got off to a strong start in the first set. Ahreona Lewis had a big hit to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead, and they didn’t look back. Southside ran away with the set 25-11.

The next two sets didn’t come as easy.

Southside’s Kelsey Fikes broke an early tie with her serving in the second set, including an ace at 9-6 to give the Panthers a 10-6 lead. Ellwood’s Diamond Webster had two straight hits to lower the deficit to 12-9, but Jakia Henderson extended the lead later in the set.

Henderson scored a kill at 19-14 to get the crowd rolling as the students started chanting “Let’s go Southside!” Henderson followed it up with another kill to go up 20-14.

Fikes served an ace to take a 22-15 lead and Henderson served an ace to clinch the second set at 25-16.

“[Henderson] has a very good serve, so her serves always keep us in the game,” Henry said.

The Eagles took the lead early in the third set as Ki Ki Stokes served an ace to give Ellwood a 4-2 advantage.

Fikes dove for a hit down 6-5 and tied the set at 6-6 for Southside.Quadasha Holmes gave Southside its first lead of the set at 8-7 with a hit.

Southside took a 16-11 lead, but Webster served four straight points to bring Ellwood to 16-15. Ellwood’s Arianna Withers tied the set at 17-17 with a kill, but Southside pulled away late. Lewis served for the final points and the Panthers took the final set 25-19.

“It wasn’t one of our best games overall, but they did step it up a little towards the end,” Marshall said. “For some reason, our team picks and chooses who they want to play better against. Usually in area play, our team steps it up a notch.”

Ellwood plays Autaugaville in Billinglsey its area tournament Monday. Southside plays Thomasville on the road in its area tournament Tuesday.