In what was arguably the most competitive and entertaining volleyball match in the county last week, the Maxwell Panthers staged a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over the visiting Durham Trojans by scores of 17-25, 25-22, 25-16, 27-25.
Coming into the match, Durham boasted a 6-1 record and handled the Panthers rather easily in the first set. However, it was a completely different story after that, as Maxwell came roaring back to win three straight sets and sent the Trojans home wondering what had just transpired.
Even Panther coach Ashley Krug couldn’t exactly put her finger on what caused her team to flip the switch into another gear, but she was beyond pleased with the result, saying “Wow! I’m not sure what it was, but we definitely played ourselves out of it.”
Part of the turnaround came at the service line,. where the Panthers got seven straight points from Jocelyn Lazarus to turn the tide in the second set, and continued the pattern of keeping Durham out of system in the third set behind the all-round effort of Emma Hendrix and Bailee Haywood.
Yet, Durham was not going down without a fight and proved it in the fourth set, a back and forth affair that saw the score knotted no less than nine times.
But the evening belonged to the Panthers, as they clawed their way back from an 11-17 deficit to take their first lead of the set 21-20 and ultimately overtake the Trojans.
On the attack, Ava Barrett, Ryann Dennis, and Fatima Cano each delivered well-timed kills, while Haywood anchored the back row fending off attempts from Durham’s middle hitter Taylor Turner, who recorded a game-high 12 kills.
In the end though, it was the pressure applied by Maxwell that forced two consecutive Trojan errors to bring the match to a close.
Hendrix led the Panthers at the service stripe, landing eight aces, while Dennis had a team-high four kills and Shelby Dunlap handed out 5 assists.
No defensive statistics were available.
Maxwell (4-1) concluded last week by cruising past winless Esparto 25-11, 25-11, 25-12, although no details were provided by the Pioneer Review print deadline.
Back in action this week, the Panthers traveled to Princeton on Monday, were in Durham for a rematch with the Trojans on Tuesday, and then returned home where they will take on Paradise Adventist this evening. ■