Southside coach picks up birthday win in straight sets

Published 8:51 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Southside High School’s volleyball team picked up the win against Ellwood Christian Academy in straight sets on Tuesday afternoon during the team’s first home game of the season.

Not only did the Southside Panthers earn the win in front of the home crowd, but the win also came on head volleyball coach Samantha Henry’s birthday.

“As far as winning on my birthday, it’s great,” Henry said. “It’s a wonderful feeling, but I feel like each team is still learning and growing.”

Email newsletter signup

The Panthers won 25-3, 25-6 and 25-10.

The support from the home crowd presented a different environment for the Panthers, who have been playing road matches since the season began.

“It’s a different feeling because we actually know them and they’re rooting for us,” Southside’s Jasmine Smith said. “They’ve been asking us for the longest when we’ll have a home game. ECA had their school here also, so it made it us against them.”

As the more experienced team, the Panthers were able to win each game convincingly.

“They couldn’t really get their serves over or really control any of their balls,” Smith said. “That’s what really helped us out today.”

The Ellwood Christian Eagles are a young team with a lot of players that are new to the game. The Eagles were able to string a few rallies together, get the ball over the net and in bounds. But not enough to make a difference in the match.

It was the Eagles’ first match of the season, and head coach Nate Brown continues to emphasize the fundamentals of the game as the team progresses through the season.

“A lot of the girls are inexperienced and this was the first time playing volleyball for a lot of them,” he said. “We’re at a disadvantage, but we’ll get it right over the years … Basic fundamentals is all we need to focus on.”

Henry reminded her Southside players that it wasn’t long ago when they were in Ellwood’s position. A young team learning the game and working toward getting better.

“This other team is where they used to be, so everybody has to start somewhere,” Henry said.

Through the month of September, the Southside Panthers volleyball team is running its annual canned food drive. The team is encouraging their classmates to donate as many canned goods as they can to donate to the Selma Food Bank.

“This is National Hunger Month and the volleyball team always volunteers canned goods,” Henry said. “We try to get at least 1,000 canned good to donate to the Food Bank here in Selma.”