WALSENBURG — The John Mall Lady Panthers’ volleyball team defeated Crowley County earlier last week, sweeping the Chargers in every match. The junior varsity team and ‘C’ team also had success against Crowley with sweeps in every match. The Panthers went in with a positive attitude according to Coach Lamberson. She indicated the team went into the match looking to “pounce the Chargers and they did just that.” From the first hit to the last serve, the Panthers did not let up. The ladies won in three, 25-21, 25-22 and 25-21. “They all rose to the occasion,” said Lamberson, “we were all on cloud nine and ready for Fowler.”
The Fowler Grizzlies came into the matchup and showed no mercy to the Panthers. Symone Sierra was injured in the warm-ups and could not participate in the match, which hurt the Panthers. This forced a change in the lineup and disrupted the girls mentally.
Fowler won in three games, 25-7, 25-7 and 25-11. Karlie Lasley, Shyanne Urdiales and Sarah Encinas hit the ball well, but they could not catch a break on the returns. Fowler, which traditionally has been a state powerhouse, having won a number of state titles over the past ten years, seemed to play a flawless game.
One of the biggest problems facing the Panthers was their inability to get the serves over the net, which according to Lamberson, “disabled their offense.” Lamberson said at the beginning of the season she would play any player regardless of what class they were in. She held true to that statement when she played Autumn Valdez.
Valdez was at first timid about her abilities, but once she got into the game, she played like a seasoned professional. At one point in the game she went up for a block weak side and sent it right back at them. Lamberson remarked, “When she [Valdez] came down after the whistle, she looked at me like… ‘sorry coach, what did I do?’ The crowd erupted with cheers as Valdez had just blocked one of their heavy hitters. She then realized she had done a great thing and put a smile on her face.” Lamberson continued, “Even though we didn’t come out on top, I’m proud of my girls for not giving up.”
The Panthers will be at home tonight against Las Animas in their home opener. Lamberson promised, “My girls will be pumped up and ready to play.” The Lady Panthers are 3-2 for the season.